Warriors’ newfound chemistry to be put to test in preseason opener

The Warriors will open their five-game preseason slate against the LeBron James-less Lakers on Saturday.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It’s been five months since the Warriors’ season was ended in the Western Conference semifinals by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Warriors players went their separate ways after the loss to decompress from the long, arduous season. However, many returned to their home base in San Francisco earlier than the previous summer, determined to right the wrongs that had occurred during their title defense. The roster was shuffled slightly, with the team making a clear commitment to capitalizing on the current situation with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson still together.

Saturday’s preseason opener against the Lakers will provide the first opportunity to see how Curry and Chris Paul will interact on the court. It could also show how much progress some of the young players, such as Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, have made in recent months.

“It’s really almost like another practice,” coach Steve Kerr said on Friday. “We’re looking at putting some things in place and building good habits.” Nobody is going to get a lot of playing time. We intend to stay focused on our work.”

It’s early in the morning. However, much has been made of the Warriors’ developing chemistry during the first five days of camp.

“We want to get off to a good start,” said Kerr. “We have a lot of new stuff.” We believe we need to improve in a number of critical areas. So it’s all about developing habits. Training camp is the only way to develop habits. You don’t practice much once the season starts.”

Many have made a point of mentioning Curry, Draymond Green, and Paul’s summer pick-up sessions in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

How beneficial were those sessions?

“We’ll see,” Paul explained.

Yes, we will. Beginning on Saturday.

What You Should Know About Saturday

Each team will be missing a starter. Green will miss at least three preseason games after spraining his left ankle before training camp began. Meanwhile, LeBron James will not play in the preseason opener, despite reports from the Lakers’ training camp that he is fully healthy.

With Green out, the Warriors can postpone deciding whether Paul will start or come off the bench for the first time in his career. Kerr has already stated that Curry, Paul, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Kevon Looney will start the game on Saturday.

Even though that group is just getting started, don’t expect the veterans to play a lot of minutes just yet.

“You play an exhibition game after five practices; to me, it’s too early,” Mr. Kerr said. “We’ll ease them in.” I would have preferred 10 days of camp before a real game, but that’s fine. So we simply adjust accordingly.”

Following Saturday’s game, the Warriors will continue their preseason schedule with a trip to Los Angeles on Friday, followed by a stop in Sacramento on Oct. 15. They’ll host the Kings on Oct. 18 before wrapping up their preseason schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs four days later at Chase Center against the Phoenix Suns.

Preseason Podz

Brandin Podziemski has seen himself as the ideal fit for the Warriors ever since they brought him in for a pre-draft workout a few months ago.

And after four practices, the No. 19 overall pick out of Santa Clara still feels that way.

“It’s been very well for myself,” Podziemski said of his experience at training camp. “When I was drafted here, I believe my style of play fits them, and their style of play fits me.” So learning the terminology and how they like to play was easy… There was little of a learning curve.”

Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, a former Indiana stretch-big who was drafted in the second round this June, will make their preseason and home debuts on Saturday. Both are expected to take the stage.

Podziemski said he’ll be nervous but will try to remain calm.

“Just put your best foot forward,” advised Podziemski. “Obviously you want to come out with a win but you also want to play like yourself.”

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