Ben Gordon is far and away the most proven player of his training camp competition. The 32 year-old, 11-year vet shot 36.1% from deep last year, and a very respectable 42.6 % in 3-point catch and shoot situations. He is no longer the studly creator off the dribble — pulling up for jumpers to record 22 ppg, like he did in his 06-07 campaign. But the Warriors don't need him to be.
If we can assume Gordon has what it takes to guarantee a role, much of his success throughout the year will depend on the consistency of Shaun Livingston. Livingston's size affords the Warriors an opportunity to play with a 6-foot-3 combo guard at the two, without necessarily being undersized defensively.
S-Dot had stretches last year where he truly looked like one of the unique players in the league. His ability to sustain the ball inside with his back to the basket is a powerful weapon as a distributor. A smaller point guard might struggle in this situation; when a help defender flashes for a quick double team. But Livingston has that kind of length at 6-foot-7, and a smooth handle that'll allow him step out of the danger zone, protect the ball, while keeping the help defenders honest with his expert vision.
This idea of having an iso passer operating from the key in a half court set, is great for shooters like Gordon, Rush, Clark, or Eddie, because it allows for things to patiently materialize while shooters get open. Kerr could screen the weak side wing, and have his shooter swing over to the ball side. This team has a lot of big bodies on the bench to allow this orchestration, and Livingston is so tall, he often zips a pass over the defense with ease. The risk of turning it over is minimized for Shaun in this situation, whereas a smaller point might have trouble avoiding help defenders or passing over traps.
If Ben Gordon can separate himself from the aforementioned names, than he and Livingston will likely have an improved season from their previous, respectfully. Andre Iguodala also reveals that he has been working out with Gordon for the past week. The two veterans seem resolute on developing a chemistry. Very exciting news!
"The league is so much about being in the right situation, being with the right group of guys that mesh with your talents and skills. This team's style of play, with a lot of movement, a lot of ball movement, a lot of unselfish play - and they're not shy about shooting - that's right up my alley."
- Ben Gordon
"Ben was good. He's been around a long time, but he's still got gas in the tank. What I like about Ben is that he's a good shooter, good scorer. He can play off Shaun and Andre. You don't have to have a traditional point guard in that role, because Shaun and Andre handle the ball."
- Steve Kerr
Barbosa stuck in Brazil, absent from practice
Leandro Barbosa missed the team's training camp kickoff because of apparent visa issues. The Warriors aren't too worried about the expedience of his arrival, and expect him to touch down in the bay within the next 1-3 days.
Livingston, who spent some time with LB in his motherland during the off-season was available for comment.
"I was able to get back in the country," Livingston said, jokingly. "I don't know what happened to him."
Luke Walton steps to the plate, carries on legacy of brilliance
The Warriors continue the trend of hiring players turned coaches, giving "Cool Hand Luke" Walton the nod as acting consigliere to champion head coach, Steve Kerr. Walton comes from a legacy of a winning, and is spawn to arguably the greatest passing big man who ever lived in Bill Walton. Luke won two rings with the Lakers, and of course, last year as a Warriors assistant coach. He assumed first chair during this year's summer league, and continues to impress with his cerebral approach and matter-of-fact persona. He's young, a winner, and he's got the pedigree of a legend's son. The Warriors hope to see him as a long-standing sidekick to the ever growing, popular icon, Steve Kerr.
Warriors letting NBA know: we're coming for you
With another off-season under the young nucleus' belt, and a mastering of a system that is still only one year old in the making, the team continues to strive towards perfection and dominance. Monte Poole cites the booming confidence from Curry and company as training camp pops off. It is difficult to imagine Joe Lacob's franchise recording anything better than a 67-win season, but in a way, anything close to that tally would actually be an improvement, for the west has grown even stronger.