A Primer: How to watch the Golden State Warriors Summer League

Remember when was a Summer League legend? - Christof Koepsel

Because us hoops addict need it.

It's quite disconcertingly awesome that the Golden State Warriors Summer League won't mean much in the grand scheme of the regular season. It wasn't so long ago that the sterling performances of Marco Belinelli, Anthony Randolph and even Klay Thompson would signal a direct indictment of the impact on the season. Now? The most important developmental storyline is that of a player slated as the 10th man or so on the depth chart: Kent Bazemore.

With the addition of Andre Iguodala, and soon-to-be acquisitions (not made official yet) of Jermaine O'Neal, Toney Douglas and Marreese Speights, there's not many players on the roster that will represent regular season moments in the next two weeks.

Not everything has to mean something, as Jason Whitlock has had quite a week linking random stuff with other random stuff ( I won't link it because I don't read it). Sometimes, it's just a game of basketball, albeit not very good, and for those of us that have the time to sneak in an hour or so during lunch break, it's fun to watch.

That being said, there are certain aspects of the game we can pay attention to if we keep our expectations in perspective.

Stuff we should care about:

  • If people can stay healthy—always a Warrior Achilles heel.
  • Kent Bazemore showing an ability to run a semi-cohesive offense or just a pick-and-roll.
  • Scott Machado and Nemanja Nedovic doing the same thing.
  • Continuing the newfound winning tradition with a championship (just kidding).
  • What each prospective backup point guard brings to the table. The Warriors have most of their roster spots filled up and one of the three could get cut or sent to the D-League. It'll be interesting to see what each does since we won't be able to watch practices—though their performances will have little bearing in their chances of a roster spot.
  • Bazemore: defensive intensity and ball-handling.
  • Nedovic: an apparently explosive slasher but lacks shooting ability and feel of the point guard position.
  • Machado: Excellent passer but not enough range and lack of height an issue.
  • A random player we've never heard of shooting the lights out. Although I'm not sure whether to put this in which list.

Stuff we shouldn't care about:

  • Shooting percentages and assists. First, this is a glorified pickup game and more often than not, the first guy that touches the ball will shoot, shoot and shoot again. Big men won't get any low-post touches and there aren't many set plays besides the occasional late-game setup. Secondly, don't look at Kent Bazemore, Nemanja Nedovic, or Scott Machado's assist totals as a barometer as to whether they can win the backup position or not. In a setting like this, most players are looking to score, especially in a rec game where everything is helter-skelter.
  • Darren Erman's coaching because he is now apparently the legendary Warriors assistant coach that does the "Xs and Os" while Mark Jackson stands idly by preaching away.
  • The "winners" of Summer League. Remember when Josh Selby was a player that exploded onto the scene with massive scoring outbursts and supposed to anchor the Memphis Grizzlies bench?
  • The "losers" of Summer League. Just because an established roster player like Bazemore struggles to handle or shoot doesn't mean he loses his grasp on a spot. He will have plenty of time to win or lose his spot, Summer League is just an exhibition to the showcase later on.
Though none of this means we shouldn't enjoy what should become an entertaining Summer League with the new tournament format. It's unlikely someone of consequence on this roster will make a tangible impact during the season but it doesn't mean that it won't be fun to watch. For those of us thirsting for any and all Warriors-related news (looking at those of you who have been talking about trade exceptions and mini-midlevel contracts), this is just the beginning of what should be an eventful year.

* * *
Players to keep an eye on:

I direct you to my colleague, Nate Parham's, great analysis of the players here. I personally expect/hope James Southerland and Ian Clark play well.

Here is the roster and schedule. I'll be posting recaps and tweeting in-game scores.

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