The blissful opening of a new Warriors season
After opening the doors, Golden State shows comfort in familiar role of defending champ
The internet says “combobulate” is a word, my computer isn’t so sure. But whatever the opposite of discombobulated is, that’s the general mood pervading the opening of the Golden State Warriors title defense. It all feels a little familiar now.
Andre Iguodala is back in the fold, this time coming right out to jokingly tell Stephen Curry not to ask for another round after this season, "I’m letting you know now, Steph, this the last one.” The wily veteran managed to skip out on most of the opening media day duties, instead joining the team today as the embark on what sounds like a pretty rad trip to Tokyo for a pair of preseason games as ambassadors of the NBA.
The first game will take place in the wee hours of Thursday night / Friday morning - an eye-blearing 3am California time will test the mettle of Dub Nations local viewers (while possibly rewarding some of the more dedicated overseas fans that have endured years of off-hour watching). But don’t fret, local fans have an opportunity to see Golden State at home as early as October 9th! It’s all happening fast, the season is almost upon us!
Media Day Round up
Maybe it’s all the drama unfolding across the league, but for whatever variety of reasons there’s a sense of the serene surrounding this Warriors team. Homegrown talent with some key additions, and a new generation poised on the fringes, this team is going to be real easy to root for!
It’s hard to know exactly what to include in these summaries. There are some new faces around. From Donte DiVincenzo to the intriguing JaMychal Green, Golden State has (once again) reinvented their bench - as well as welcoming a fresh batch of rookies to the mix. It will be the deep end of the depth chart that gets the most run during preseason activities, so everyone’s eyes naturally turn toward the end of the bench now. After sneaking Gary Payton II in with the final roster spot last season, I know I’m not alone in paying a bit more attention this time around to whatever is going to happen around the furthest edges of the team’s roster this season.
So sure, behind Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole, there aren’t a ton of minutes left over, but there are indeed guard minutes available, and one of the more interesting developments this season is going to be the competition for wing minutes. DiVincenzo made a name for himself as the Milwaukee Bucks hard-nosed “3 and D” guy. Before his career got paused by a torn ligament in his left ankle suffered in the first round of the playoffs followed by an inauspicious tenure with the Sacramento Kings, this was a coveted player with a bright NBA future. Now healthy and hungry to prove his place in the NBA, Golden State thinks they may have struck gold in the bargain bin once again.
Friend to the HQ, Joe Viray had an excellent breakdown of DiVincenzo’s fit earlier, and I strongly recommend giving it a look - because this guy is going to play a major role this season.
Back to Iguodala for a second (as one of the team’s primary free agent signings), it’s also well worth your time to listen to his full press conference associated with his return. The perspective, aptitude, and humor that we all know and love is there, but more importantly, you can get some of the experience that he went through in coming to his decision to return.
Iguodala isn’t a coach, as Curry was quick to point out, but his role here is much like the old David West role. Part enforcer, part father figure, part “dude who can play”, Iguodala will be wearing a lot of different hats as he helps the team in a number of different ways. It sounds like there’s a bigger plan to rest Iguodala throughout the season - as compared to last season where they rode Iguodala’s old knees fairly hard ahead of the return of Klay Thompson.
Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga are two known players that are returning - this time carrying a bit more expectation and responsibility. In the preseason, they’ll get some run, but the expectation is that both of these critical sophomores will be entrenched in coach Steve Kerr’s rotation.
After missing the Summer League, one of the more enticing views ahead of the Tokyo trip came from a Warriors rookie that missed summer league with injuries. Much like they did with Kevon Looney, Golden State is hoping to scoop up a talented prospect that missed enough time due to injury to scare of some perspective suitors. But make no mistake, there’s some solid talent out there on the end of this Warriors bench, and they should get plenty of run during these preseason games.
There’s so much more, but I think I’d like to end with my favorite Warrior talking about his upcoming international trip.
I was a vegetarian back when I was fortunate enough to go to Tokyo, and sushi at the fish market was still high on my list of things to do. These guys are in for an amazing trip, and we are all lucky to get to vicariously ride along.