Preseason wins mean essentially nothing, but after the Warriors went a league-worst 15-50 a year ago, and then had to wait more than nine months before playing again, watching them win a game against a team that made the Western Conference Finals was a sight for sore eyes.
While we can’t really take anything from the result of a preseason game, we can draw some conclusions about player performances, trends, and roster decisions. They should be taken with a huge grain of salt, but still.
So here are seven things of note following the Dubs win. Since this is a Warriors site, I’m not going to mention Nikola Jokic having 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in just 23 minutes, but yeesh.
I don’t really have an observation or even an anecdote here. Steph Curry was on the court, and it was so, so good to see.
We’ve only seen Curry play five games in the last 18 months. Watching him play basketball was an absolute treat.
He struggled with his shot (3-10 from the field, 2-7 from deep) just as he did in his limited appearances last season, but ... come on. That means nothing.
He also was really invested in the result, which was fun.
Watch Steph on the bench... it's just the preseason but he's completely into it pic.twitter.com/4UlkJfxPTf— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 13, 2020
Oubre and Wiggins struggle with efficiency
One of the biggest question marks for the Warriors this year is whether Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. can take a big step forward, especially with their efficiency on offense. Playing in a good system, alongside a player in Curry who always boosts his teammates’ efficiency should help.
Saturday’s game wasn’t great in that regard, with Wiggins having 8 points on 3-8 shooting and Oubre having 10 points on 4-10 shooting.
Again: massive grain of salt, please.
Kevon Looney started
A week ago, you could have made the case for Kevon Looney, Marquese Chriss, or James Wiseman to start at center for the Warriors. We now know it won’t be Wiseman, since he’s likely to miss the entire preseason after testing positive for the coronavirus.
So it’s down to Looney and Chriss, and Looney appears the favorite after starting the preseason opener. He looked good, he looked healthy, and Steve Kerr is stoked.
Steve Kerr: "It's so great to have Looney back. ... It's exciting."— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) December 13, 2020
Me too, Steve. Me too.
Looney starting feels like the right move, so it was good to see.
The Warriors may not win an award for the most depth in the league, but after one game they certainly look like they’re in good shape on that end of things.
The bench figures to be focused on Kent Bazemore, Damion Lee, Brad Wanamaker, Eric Paschall, and whoever doesn’t win the starting center job. Bazemore had 13 points on 4-6 shooting and 5 rebounds in his return. Lee had a hilariously awesome stat line of 12 points on 2-2 shooting. Wanamaker had 8 points on 2-4 shooting. All three were as good on defense as you would expect.
Paschall started with Draymond Green out, and he had 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. For now, the bench looks legit.
I’ll be honest. I’m higher on Jordan Poole than just about everyone who doesn’t have “Poole” as a surname. I though he showed outstanding potential passing the ball last year, and it was just a matter of getting his shot to play at the NBA level the way it did at the college level.
For one preseason game at least, it did. Poole made all four of his shots, including a three-pointer, and his lone free throw attempt. He ended with 10 points and 2 assists, and made an argument to get non-garbage time minutes.
Mychal Mulder states his case
The Warriors have 14 roster spots locked, plus one two-way contract. That means they have one open roster spot, and one two-way contract.
The Dubs have struggled with bench shooting in recent years, and we know Mychal Mulder can help with that. On Saturday he stated his case, going 3-4 from beyond the arc, and looking like a weapon.
Three rookies debut
It may just be preseason to us, but it’s still a professional basketball game. And for players who have trained at the sport for their whole life, a first professional basketball game is a huge deal.
Nico Mannion, Dwayne Sutton, and Kaleb Wesson all made their professional basketball debut, and while none of them had particularly eventful first games, it’s still a huge moment for them, and the family, friends, and coaches that helped get them there.
Hey, did I mention the Warriors won?