Here’s a couple of random Golden State Warriors news:
In their last game of the 2011-2012 season, the Warriors starting 5 consisted of all rookies, and that was the first time that has ever happened in NBA history.
The Warriors started PG Charles Jenkins (44th pick in 2011), SG Klay Thompson (11th pick in 2011), F Chris Wright (undrafted training camp call-up), F/C Jeremy Tyler (39th pick in 2011), and C Mickell Gladness (undrafted player, signed to 10-day contracts early in April). Though people can point this roster change to an obvious tanking move, this game gave the Warriors a really good chance to develop their young players for the future.
Speaking of tanking, the Warriors ended their season with a 23-43 record, tied for 7th worst along with the Toronto Raptors.
Today (Friday), the NBA dealt with every record tie-breaker that had draft pick implications. The Warriors won their tie-breaker with the Raptors, and, with a Top-7 protected pick that the Utah Jazz currently own, the Warriors now have a 72.5% chance of keeping their draft pick.
The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 30th, and that is when the Warriors’ fate in the 2012 draft will show.
NBA Preseason: Judging the Warriors against the Kings
I may only be the preseason, but we can all agree on one thing: thank God that the NBA is back. Normally at mid-December, we would be through the first quarter of the regular season, but thanks to the lockout we will have to settle for a couple preseason games. I’m a Warrior fan from the Bay, so obviously the first full game I would catch is the Warriors hosting the Kings.
If you have been following the Warriors during this shortened offseason, then you have undoubtably heard rookie coach Mark Jackson constantly pushing that the Warriors will be a defensive-minded team. It should be noted that this game was missing Kings F/C DeMarcus Cousins, meaning there was no low-post threat that the Warriors had to worry about. In spite of this, the Warriors defense looked good. Golden State was able to hold the Kings to 36% shooting in the first half, leading to a 59-40 lead into break. The guards were cutting into passing lanes and forced turnovers while rotating across the court. The Kings made adjustments after the half and the Warriors fell back to old habits, but overall if the Warriors can continue to play pesky defense, they have a fair chance to succeed.
The Latvian center’s two past seasons were pretty dreadful. He averaged 5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 25% free throw shooting in 92 games between 2009-2011 after a stellar campaign just the season prior. This preseason game gave hope to Warrior fans that the old Biedrins can be back this season. He only played 16 minutes in the game, so his box score doesn’t say a lot, but he was a bit aggressive and looked more confident on both the offensive and defensive ends. Physically, he looks even bigger and stronger than ever before, showing signs for another breakout year. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy.
The Warriors’ 2011 draft picks Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler, and Charles Jenkins did not look bad during their “first” NBA game.
Klay started a little shaky with his offense (shooting 4-10 from the field by the end), but showed a couple nice plays, including a running jumper in the key, drawing the foul. He also showed some craftiness with his hands, going for some steals, though he should be careful after drawing an early 5th foul during the 3rd quarter.
Jeremy Tyler had an up and down game. He did a good job sealing the paint and getting the boards, but overall he didn’t stand out very much. He has a chance to grow into a decent role player off the bench, though.
Charles Jenkins surprised me the most out out of all the rookies. With a 6’3” height and 220 pound frame, he definitely showcased his speed and strength on the court with an impressive block and work on the fastbreak. You can definitely expect him to be the main point guard off the bench for both Steph and Monta (barring the chance that Ish Smith blows up during practice).
The Warriors also had a handful of un-drafted rookies from the NBA D-League, as well as from overseas. With six rookies on non-guaranteed contracts, we will most likely only expect one to make it onto the roster by opening night, so who is my pick? Edwin Ubiles, the swingman out of the Dakota Wizards. He only played 3 and a half minutes in the game, but he showed that he can hustle and produce in limited minutes.
I can’t have a post talking about this year’s Sacramento Kings without a little blurb about Jimmer Fredette. If there one one thing that’s completely clear about this rookie, it’s that this guy can SHOOT. He scored 21 points off of 7-11 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3 point range. He had trouble scoring around the rim and keeping up on the defense, but I see him being successful in this league, especially with a stroke like his.
With this game being Mark Jackson’s first taste of head coaching an NBA game and the Warriors trying to change their whole playing culture, this team has a lot to prove, and it showed during this game. It may only be the pre-season (and it may only be the Sacramento Kings), but the Warriors were playing hard and they were hustling. It was very refreshing to see; now I’m just curious to see how this will translate in a real game against contending teams.