clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Warriors host Lebron, Anthony Davis and the Lakers to open preseason

New, comments

Golden State basketball begins at the new Chase Center against an old foe.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

2019-20 Golden State Warriors Media Day
Media day photos - never weird, right?

It’s been an unusually powerful offseason for the Golden State Warriors and their fans. The Warriors open the 2019-2020 NBA season with their core intact, but in a new city and with a bunch of new faces. Or is it the old city? According to the NBA, this is the first NBA game in San Francisco since January 29, 1971, when the Warriors beat the Buffalo Braves, 106-100, at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium.

Wow. I don’t know that I’m ready for this.

GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers

WHEN: Saturday, October 5th, 2019; 5:00 PM PST

WHERE: Chase Center — San Francisco, CA

WATCH: TNT

Blog Buddy: Silver Screen and Roll

New look everything

There was literally dust on top of the laptop I use to write. From talking to a lot of fans, it’s clear that many of us disengaged over the summer more than we usually do. While we slumbered, the NBA has been remade. The Warriors find themselves as an extremely dangerous veteran team, but one with decidedly less firepower than recent iterations. Still, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green alongside newcomer D’Angelo Russell, these Warriors have plenty of punch and are still among the top teams in the league.

The league though, is also drastically reformed. LeBron James has once again landed in a franchise like a meteor and terraformed the roster. Paired up with, another superstar in his prime, he and Anthony Davis present a formidable challenge. The rest of the roster leaves a bit to be desired, but they’ve got plenty of roleplayers like Alex Caruso, Danny Green and ex-Warrior Quinn Cook to fill out the fringes.

Banged up Warriors open the door for the deep end of the bench

With the departure of Kevin Durant, the entire Warriors roster was thrown into chaos. The front office did well to snag a young, improving all-star in Russell and were also more than happy to re-sign Kevon Looney at a more than reasonable salary. However, it left a lot of mess in the wake of our shattered array of super stars and wily veterans.

Coming into camp, the Warriors had Willie Cauley-Stein, and Kevon Looney penciled in for the main duties at Center. Both are now injured — Looney with a minor hamstring tweak (which is notorious for being a lingering injury), and Cauley-Stein out for all of training camp with a mid-foot strain.

Unfortunately, the third stringer, Alen Smailagic, will be out for the “foreseeable future” after badly rolling his ankle in a scrimmage at practice. It’s unknown how severe the injury truly is, but reading between the lines, to me it looks like something closer to a week or two, versus a month or two. Regardless, the Warriors are digging deep into the pile of NBA castoffs now, looking for a contingency big man. Real deep.

Preseason aside, the temptation to play Draymond Green at Center is going to be something to be watched all season. Kerr spoke on it earlier, and here is a transcription courtesy of Anthony Slater from The Athletic:

“To be determined,” Kerr said of how often he could play Draymond at center. “It’s hard to say right now because we don’t really know what the starting lineup looks like, what the other positions look like. Draymond has been an effective center for us, but we’d have to figure out who’s at the four, who’s at the three. It may make sense, it may not.”

Nominally, that four spot would go to Kevon Looney — but you can immediately see the problem here. The Warriors, after growing more and more top heavy over the past three or four seasons have finally shed weight, but it leaves a lot of bare spaces that will have to be filled by young players developing within the system here.

For this game, don’t worry too much about heavy minutes for any of the Warriors’ main players. While there is some value in beginning to get in-game minutes alongside each other, this is still a team that isn’t going to worry a ton about single games in the grand scheme of things.

Who do you like?

With all these minutes up for grabs and a strategy that is more about development and structural improvement than wins, we are going to get to see a lot of ugly interesting basketball tonight.

The guard spots are fairly well set, with Curry and Russell consuming the lion’s share of minutes, but the wings are an enormous question mark. Currently, Alfonzo McKinnie is the expected starter at small forward. He was decent enough last season to get brought back, but that has as much to do with economics as it does talent.

Alec Burks, Omari Spellman and Glenn Robinson III are on the roster, and all could play some sort of role for Steve Kerr. One of the best things about preseason basketball is watching the end of the depth chart fight itself into a resolution. For the Warriors this year, it’s not just the end of the bench; the entire bench — as well as some of the starter minutes — is there for the taking. So pick your marginal player, grab some popcorn, and let’s commence the rebirth of Warriors basketball in San Francisco.