The Golden State Warriors are preparing for their first on-court action in nine months. The Dubs open up their preseason on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets and it will give us our first glimpse of the new-look Warriors and how head coach Steve Kerr sets his rotations.
General manager Bob Myers added some critical pieces in Kelly Oubre Jr. and big man James Wiseman. The Dubs addressed the center position by taking Wiseman No. 2 overall, who will be battling with Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss for minutes.
The wild card out of the trio is Chriss. He showed some promise during the 2019-20 season, averaging 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, all career highs.
Although Chriss flashed his potential on the offensive end, he will have to grow as a defender. The 23-year-old had the second-worst defensive rating of any Golden State player who suited up in more than 50 games last season. The Dubs were 2.2 points better per 100 possessions with Chriss off the floor than they were with him on it, per NBA.com.
The roster didn’t have much talent, so his underlying numbers should improve just by having better teammates. If Chriss can take another step in his development, it would be a massive win for Golden State. Wiseman might take some time to find his footing, so Golden State will need Chriss to step up, especially early on.
Kerr was happy with how Chriss progressed throughout the season. At 6’9 with a 7’1 wingspan, Chriss has the tools to develop into a solid rotational player. The Dubs will need all the size they can get if they want to contend in the loaded Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Lakers have Anthony Davis, while the Clippers have a deep rotation up front, and the Nuggets will be trotting out Nikola Jokic each night, so the Warriors will need Chriss to be up to the challenge. If Myers and co. aren’t confident he will be, they could use one of their assets to bring another option to the Bay Area.
What are your expectations for Chriss this season?
On to some links:
Andrew Wiggins will be a big X-factor for the Warriors this season. Marcus Thompson of The Athletic breaks down how the Dubs can get the most out of the former No. 1 pick.
The James Harden drama is just beginning in Houston, but if he does get traded, don’t expect it to be to Golden State. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons explains why he thinks Harden would veto a trade to the Dubs. (NBC Bay Area)
The Warriors are hoping Wiseman will develop into an All-Star. One former Dub says the rookie reminds him of Dwight Howard. (Clutch Points)
Thompson’s injury was a huge blow for the Dubs and their fans, but we all still have great memories of Klay. Here is a look back at his 60-point explosion from the 2016-17 season. (Warriors Wire)