LAS VEGAS — The Warriors won their first NBA Summer League game Saturday, edging the Washington Wizards 56-52.
Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green led the way, playing like it was the regular season. Bazemore finished with a game-high 21 points, and would have had a slew of assists if the Warriors’ rookies had capitalized on more of his inside dishes.
Even though Warriors general manager Bob Myers has said he views Bazemore as a guy who’s on the team already, Bazemore said he can’t play the Summer League games with that kind of mindset:
“I’m still not guaranteed a contract right now. … I’ve got to treat it as if I’m out here working for a job, which I am. I still have to prove myself. I’m just coming out here with a chip on my shoulder and I want to play hard.”
Even with a guaranteed contract with the Warriors for next season, Green went into the game like he still had something to prove, scoring 15 points, grabbing four rebounds, adding four steals and two blocked shots.
On top of filling the stat sheet, Green was making hustle plays left and right, diving for loose balls, picking up open men on defense and calling on his teammates to get into the game and help out.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said he’s not surprised with the way Green played in their Summer League opener:
“I like he way he’s turning down some shots, putting the ball on the floor and forcing contact. Draymond has been consistent, obviously he’s worked on his body, but he’s still doing the things he’s done from day one.”
Green told SFBay that playing hard in the Summer League puts him in position to make it known how valuable he is to the Warriors:
“This is an opportunity to showcase what I can bring to the team. It’s not the time to come out and say hey I played on the Warriors for a year, I’m just gonna come out and chill. There’s no Steph on the court, there’s no Klay, no Harrison, no David, this is an opportunity for guys to come out and show what they can do.
With two more games scheduled before the inaugural Summer League tournament begins, finishing as the first Summer League Champions is on the minds of the Warriors.
Jackson said that last year a 5-0 record in Las Vegas propelled the team to have a successful regular season and playoff run.
Bazemore shared in his coaches’ sentiments. saying that even though showcasing individual talent was important, winning was more important:
“I always want to win. If you just come out here just trying to show off yourself, you let your teammates down. We’re all out here for one reason and that’s to win. Winning this championship would mean a whole lot to myself and to the organization.”
The Warriors face the Sacramento Kings Monday at 5:30 p.m, then the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on tape delay starting at 10 p.m. on NBA TV.