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What to watch for in the second preseason game

Golden State’s penultimate preseason game is tonight in Sacramento.

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Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors truncated preseason continues tonight with a game against the Sacramento Kings. It’s just their second preseason game, but already their second to last. Time is quickly running short to get things in order before the Dec. 22 season opener against the Brooklyn Nets.

If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you’ve probably heard me say that preseason results are utterly meaningless, and I stand by that. But by “results” I just mean wins and losses. Player performance, team trends, and other notable narratives and findings can be relevant.

Here’s what I’ve got my eye on for tonight.

Energy level

Draymond Green and James Wiseman partook in their first team practices on Monday, after both players had missed the start of training camp due to bouts of the coronavirus.

It made a big difference, and not just in the level of talent. Most importantly, it made a difference in the energy level.

According to coach Steve Kerr, Green was — predictably — intense, from his on-court physicality to his trash-talking. And according to Green, Wiseman immediately spiked the energy in the building, with Green telling reporters, “He was a bit all over the place. I thought it was great to see. Because it was all energy-related. When you need to tone a guy’s energy back, you can do that. But lethargic, laid-back guys, it’s very hard to turn their tick up.”

Neither player will play in Tuesday’s game, but perhaps we’ll still feel their impact with an energized team.

Curry’s shooting

If you made a list of 10,000 things to be worried about with the Warriors this season, and included “Steph Curry’s jumper” on the list, it would be No. 10,000. There’s zero reason to have even the mildest bit of concern about the shooting ability of the greatest shooter in the history of the sport.

Still ... it would be nice to see the shots start going in.

In five games last year, Curry shot just 12-49 (24.5%) from beyond the arc. In Saturday’s preseason opener, he shot 2-7 from distance.

Again: literally zero reason for concern. But from a selfish standpoint, I’m ready to see the shots start falling.

Can Mulder cement a spot?

Mychal Mulder impressed in his short stint last year, and again in Saturday’s game. And the Warriors coaching staff reportedly is very high on him. It would seem he’s the favorite to earn the 15th roster spot — or perhaps just a two-way contract.

A strong showing in Sacramento could cement his spot on the roster.

Will the bench keep doing its thing?

The bench looked strong on Saturday, with Mulder, Damion Lee, Kent Bazemore, Brad Wanamaker, Jordan Poole, and Eric Paschall (who started, but will be a bench player during the season) playing very well.

The Warriors had essentially no bench performance a year ago, but this year they could be really strong in that area.

What’s the comfort level?

Excluding Saturday’s game, the Warriors haven’t played in nine months. And they have an entirely different roster than they did in March, with many of the new players also having not played in nine months.

Other teams have played more recently, which could go one of two ways: they might be more exhausted than the Dubs, or they might have more momentum.

The Warriors are having to patch their system on the fly, but they should be rejuvenated. Keep an eye on the process of their offense and defense. Do players look comfortable? Is there communication? Or is it a scattered mess of players not knowing where they’re supposed to be?

It’s the preseason so you expect a healthy dose of the latter, but it would be great to see a bit of the former as well.

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