Warriors look to lock in roster, rotation
With only a few days left in preseason, the Warriors are hoping to iron out the last few wrinkles before tackling the 2013-2014 season.
Back-to-back games against Sacramento and Portland Wednesday and Thursday round out Golden State’s preseason, and head coach Mark Jackson said that decisions about a finalized roster won’t be made until those games are over:
“These guys have been very good and done everything we’ve asked them to do. They’ve been here from day one and I believe in giving them an opportunity to make it in this league.”
Jackson said the team would not play the back-to-back preseason games like in the regular season, but instead will be handled cautiously so that the team can remain healthy while continuing to get better.
Establishing a rotation and finalizing a starting lineup is also on the coach’s mind. With Stephen Curry, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, and Andre Iguodala — the most likely candidates for spots in the starting five — the fifth spot would go to either Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes.
In perfect political fashion, Thompson and Barnes have both said they are willing to be the guy coming off the bench. But, since Thompson is seeing more action as Barnes deals with a nagging foot injury, it’s nearly safe to bank on Thompson as the fifth starter to open the season.
With 14 guaranteed contracts already locked in, three training camp invitees (Dewayne Dedmon, Seth Curry and Joe Alexander) are competing for the 15th and final roster position.
In the end it will come down to two players — with Alexander lagging behind the other two — and what’s most important to the Warriors’ front office: publicity or production. While the younger Curry would be a publicity hit, Dedmon has stood out as the best training camp invitee during preseason.
Coach Jackson said that Dedmon is ready to play in the NBA, and that having back-up center Festus Ezeli on the injured list means the demand for depth in the middle is higher:
“Dedmon is an NBA player and he’s had a very good camp for us. With or without Festus, I believe he’s an NBA player.”
Though it’s not easy to pinpoint how the team is going to do come Oct. 30, Curry is confident in the way training camp and preseason has progressed:
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the preseason. We started out real slow. Didn’t really put good spurts of play together when we were out there on the court. As of late, we’ve gelled and found a rhythm.”
In order to keep that rhythm, the Warriors need a good start to the season, which begins with 14 of Golden State’s first 22 games on the road. Curry told SFBay it’s important to come out of the gate strong:
“We’re gonna have some tough games and some tough travel through parts of the first month of the season. We’ve got to show that we are a serious team from the get go no matter what the situation is.”
Both Jackson and the team think they have the pieces to make a move for the championship this season, and are excited about the lights coming on at Oracle against the Lakers to start the season.
Coach Jackson said the team is at a point where the excuse of not knowing what’s going on is no longer valid. The real world and regular season is approaching fast. When asked if the team is ready, Jackson was confident:
“I believe so. We’ve prepared and worked hard. I do believe that we’re ready and anxious for the real season to start.”