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2008 SUMMER LEAGUE BLOG

During the month of July, warriors.com will feature complete Summer League coverage from a variety of Warriors sources. With submissions from the full-time Blog Squad roster and special guests like Warriors rookie Richard Hendrix, the Warriors 2008 Summer League Blog is the best place for Warriors fans wanting the inside scoop on all of this year's summer action.

VISIT WARRIORS SUMMER LEAGUE CENTRAL

Friday, July 25 (4:17 p.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
warriors.com

RMR Game 4 Recap - Wrapping Things Up In Utah



Anthony Morrow earned himself a contract by being one of the most impressive players on any team at the RMR.
The Warriors took the court at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time today in their final contest of the Rocky Mountain Revue. As one of the most impressive teams at both the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and the Rocky Mountain Revue in Utah, the Warriors earned the reputation of being 'the team to beat.' And today, playing their fouth game in five days, the Warriors were taken down by the Hawks in a 105-91 contest. It marked the team's only loss at the RMR, and their first overall loss since their fourth game in Vegas.

The Hawks came out firing and never stopped, hitting 11-of-24 three-pointers on the game. And despite the loss, there were still plenty of positives for the Warriors. DeMarcus Nelson put forth perhaps his best effort of the summer, finishing with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. In what has become a trend, Anthony Randolph had another solid game, registering 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, while knocking down all six of his free throws. And last but not least, Anthony Morrow tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, but his final game of the summer most definitely took a back seat to the news he received earlier in the day. Prior to the contest, the Warriors announced that they had signed Morrow to a contract, a deserved honor for the rookie. At the time of signing his contract, Morrow had averaged 18.6 points in six previous Summer League games for the Warriors, while converting 16-of-19...yes 16-of-19 three-pointers (84.2%).

Golden State finished with a 3-1 record in Utah, which was good enough to earn them a tie for first place. Coupled with their 4-1 finish in Vegas that also netted them a first place tie, the Warriors finished 7-2 overall in what has to be called a very successful summer.

Below is a brief summary of several key contributors who played for both of the Warriors' summer league entries:

Anthony Randolph was the talk of the town in both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Anthony Randolph: The Warriors first round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft (#14 overall) was one of the most talked about players in both Las Vegas and Utah. His athleticism and versatility were on full display and he had many observers believing that the Warriors got a steal with the 14th overall selection in this year's draft. Randolph's play garnered him two feature stories on ESPN.com, one by J.A. Adande and one by Tim Buckley.

Randolph played in eight games overall, averaging 19.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest. The 6'10 forward shot 40.7% from the floor (46-113 FG), but more impressive was his knack for getting to the free throw line. Randolph was 60-73 from the free throw line (82.2%), averaging over nine attempts per contest.

Not much more can be said that hasn't been mentioned already, but it's safe to say that Warriors fans have plenty to be excited about when it comes to Randolph.

Anthony Morrow: As noted above, Morrow's outstanding play helped him earn a contract with the Warriors. Not bad for a guy who didn't even make it off the bench in Golden State's first two summer league games (and even then only played 27 total minutes in his first two games). The Georgia Tech product is a perfect example of how summer league can be so helpful to teams. Not only do they get a chance to start developing players such as Randolph, they get the opportunity to see how hand-picked free agents might fare in their respective systems. Morrow recognized his opportunity and he made the most of it.

All in all, Morrow played seven games for the Warriors, averaging 18.1 points and 4.7 rebounds while providing the team with a steady shooting presence. Morrow shot 54.9% from the floor overall (50-91 FG) and an astounding 73.9% from three-point range (17-23 3FG). Morrow's performance at the Rocky Mountain Revue (21.0 points, 6.5 rebounds per game, 11-16 3FGs) was so impressive that he was named the MVP of the league. That honor and those are numbers that are hard to ignore, and lucky for Warriors fans, the team decided that Morrow was worth having around.

Richard Hendrix made the most of his limited minutes for the Warriors this summer.
Richard Hendrix: The Warriors' second round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft was slowed by a leg injury during his time in Vegas, but did get to see the floor in the team's finale. The power forward out of Alabama then came to Utah with the team and played in all four contests. And during his time on the floor, Hendrix showcased the skills that made him so highly coveted by the Warriors. With a motor that always runs and the ability to bang down low and snare rebounds, Hendrix will be a welcome addition to the Warriors' roster. He has also been a welcome addition to the Blog Squad, proving a couple entries for us this summer.

Overall, in Hendrix's five contests, he averaged 5.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks depsite playing just 9.6 minutes per game.

DeMarcus Nelson: The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year from Duke lived up to his reputation and played a key role in the Warriors' success. Nelson played in all nine of the Warriors' summer league games and showed a hunger that did not go unnoticed. Nelson wound up averaging 8.8 points, 2.9 assists and 0.9 steals in 19.0 minutes per game.

Rob Kurz: Kurz was another player who made an appearance in all nine contests for the Warriors. The power forward out of Notre Dame made the most of his opportunities, providing hustle and filling up the stat sheet on occasion. Kurz averaged 16.4 minutes per game, scoring 7.1 points and grabbing 4.6 rebounds. In Utah, Kurz ranked third on the team with 12.5 points per game, and second with 6.8 rebounds per contest.

POST-GAME INTERVIEWS: Following the contest, Sidney Moncrief spoke to Tim Roye for warriors.com, while Anthony Morrow talked to Fitz & Brooks on KNBR. Listen below:

ANTHONY MORROW INTERVIEW
SIDNEY MONCRIEF INTERVIEW

NOTES: Following today's game, the team headed to the airport, but instead of all boarding the same plane together, players and coaches were spread out at a variety of gates. Some will head home, some will come back to Oakland and some will head out on vacation. To stay up to date on everything that has happened with the Warriors this off-season, including yesterday's signings of Kelenna Azubuike and Monta Ellis and the unveiling the 2008-09 Warrior Girls, visit Warriors Off-Season Central.

Friday, July 25 (10:02 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

How About Another Signing? Warriors Ink Morrow To Deal

In three leagues this summer, Morrow has made 27-of-39 three-pointers.
If all of yesterday's news wasn't enough for you, the Warriors have signed Summer League standout Anthony Morrow to a contract.

A 6'5" guard from Georgia Tech, Morrow has averaged 18.6 points in six Summer League games with the Warriors (Las Vegas and Utah).

Additionally, he has converted 16-of-19 3-pointers for Golden State this summer and 27-of-39 3-pointers overall (.692) if you include his stint in the Orlando Summer League two weeks ago (with the Miami Heat).

Morrow and the Warriors are playing their final game of the summer as we speak, and fans can watch the game live online by clicking here .

To listen to an exclusive interview that warriors.com conducted with Morrow on July 22, click the link below. UPDATE: Morrow spoke with Fitz & Brooks on KNBR following the Warriors finale in Utah. Listen to both interviews below:

ANTHONY MORROW ON KNBR (7/25)

ANTHONY MORROW INTERVIEW (7/22)

Thursday, July 24 (7:17 p.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

RMR Game 3 Recap & Three Official Signings - A Busy Day In Warriorland Is Nothing New



Hendrix signed his official contract prior to the Warriors' summer league game on July 24.
July 24 is a state holiday in Utah – it is officially Pioneer Day, celebrating the anniversary of July 24, 1847, when the first group of Mormon Pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a pretty big deal in Utah, and especially in Salt Lake City. There was a parade down main street, just blocks from the Warriors’ team hotel, and many of the businesses in town were closed. For much of Salt Lake City, it was a day off.

No such day off for the Golden State Warriors. In fact, July 24 was anything but a day off…it was a very busy day. But that is nothing new for the Warriors over the last two weeks.

The day started with the Warriors summer league team arrived early at the gym for a little on-court practice time, as they would be playing the day’s first game against the D-League Ambassadors. While head coach Sidney Moncrief and his staff went over some new plays and points of emphasis, second round pick Richard Hendrix was quickly pulled to the side of the court to officially sign his NBA contract. It wasn’t the typical contract signing “ceremony”, but you’ll hear no complaints from Hendrix.

After a 30 minute teaching session, the Warriors tipped off against the D-Leaguers at 2:15 local time. Less than five minutes later, all the Warriors staff members in attendance received the emailed press release that officially announced the fact that the team had matched the Clippers' offer sheet for Kelenna Azubuike.

And just to keep everyone on their toes, the Warriors were not done. In fact, their biggest news of the day was yet to come. Five hours after announcing the signing of Azubuike, the Warriors made the much-anticipated move of officially re-signing Monta Ellis to a multi-year contract.

The signing of Monta Ellis marked the end of a very busy day for the Warriors.
The re-signing of Azubuike and Ellis is just the latest in a flurry of transactions over the last 14 days. To recap:

On July 10, Corey Maggette became the “newest” Warrior, when he signed a free agent contract to join the team. Maggette owned the title of “newest” Warrior for a grand total of five days.

On July 15, Golden State signed first round pick Anthony Randolph to a contract. Celebrating his 19th birthday that day, Randolph not only received a great birthday present, he also took over the title of “newest” Warrior. Hopefully he enjoyed his “newest” status for the four days in which he held the spot.

On July 19, the signing of Ronny Turiaf became official and HE took the title of “newest” Warrior. His reign as “newest” was even shorter than Randolph’s – lasting a grand total of three days. In fact, by the time Ronny was introduced to the Bay Area media on July 23, he wasn’t even the Warriors new guy anymore.

On July 22, the Warriors acquired point guard Marcus Williams from the New Jersey Nets. He wasn’t even “newest” long enough to officially be presented with his new #5 Warriors jersey, as his stint as new dude lasted all of two days.

As noted above, on July 24, Richard Hendrix became the “newest” Warrior by officially signing his name on the dotted line of his rookie NBA contract. And while he may not actually lose his title of “newest” to Azubuike or Ellis due to the fact that they are both returning players, the fact remains that Richard was only the new kid on the block for about 25 minutes before another Warriors contract had been signed.

To get caught up on all of the Warriors' offseason moves, as well as everything else going on within the organization, check out Warriors 2008 Off-Season Central.

While news of Azubuike’s re-signing was circulating around the gym, Golden State’s summer league team was busy taking on a pesky D-League squad. It was obvious from the opening tip that the minor leaguers were extremely motivated for the contest, looking to make an impression and hopefully catch the eye of the NBA types in the building.

The Warriors used a 21-12 push in the second quarter to open up a 40-27 advantage at the half (their biggest lead of the contest) and led 65-53 after three quarters. But the Ambassadors would not go away, chipping away at the lead throughout the final quarter. It came down to the final play, with the D-Leaguers owning possession of the ball with just six seconds left and trailing by one point. After taking a time out, Golden State forced a fall away baseline jumper that rimmed out at the buzzer.

For the Warriors, Anthony Morrow once again led the way in scoring, finishing with 19 points (7-12 FG, 3-3 3FG, 2-2 FT). Mykal Riley had his best game of the summer, registering 17 points, six points and three assists. First round pick Anthony Randolph managed 14 points (6-17 FG, 2-5 FT) and seven rebounds in just under 21 minutes of play, while point guard DeMarcus Nelson had a solid all-around contest with 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The highlight of the game was undoubtedly an alley-oop dunk by Randolph, which came off a very nice lob from Nelson. This play was unique in that it came in the half court offense and that both players were on the same side of the court. Nelson began on the left hand side of the court, free throw line extended, and Randolph was posting his man on the left block. As Nelson’s defender shaded him toward the baseline, he drove hard at Randolph’s man, who stepped up to meet him. Once that happened, Anthony took off for the rim and DeMarcus tossed a nice floater over the bigger defender into the hand of Randolph, who threw it down with two hands.

POST-GAME INTERVIEWS: Following the contest, Hendrix spoke with Tim Roye, while Randolph and Moncrief addressed the Salt Lake City media. Listen below:

RICHARD HENDRIX INTERVIEW
ANTHONY RANDOLPH INTERVIEW
SIDNEY MONCRIEF INTERVIEW

NOTES: Tomorrow is the Warriors summer league finale and the team is scheduled to play the first game of the day at 11:00 a.m. local time in Utah. Following the game, the entire traveling party is headed to the airport for flights headed all over the country…Following the contest, Anthony Randolph was interviewed by several local area media members about his performance thus far in the Summer League and also conducted an interview with Ralph Barbieri and Ted Robinson on KNBR, while Richard Hendrix did an interview for Warriors.com. For those of you in the Sacramento area, Sidney Moncrief is scheduled to be on the Kings flagship KHTK tonight at 7:30.

Tuesday, July 22 (7:02 p.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

RMR Game 2 Recap - Making A Name By Making Shots



The 'other' Anthony has scored at least 20 points in each of the last three games. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY
While most of the attention during Summer League is paid to rookie draft picks and returning NBA players, the majority of the players participating in the Rocky Mountain Review are free agents fighting to earn a roster spot or a training camp invite - either with the team they are playing for in Summer League or any of the other 29 NBA teams that are scouting each and every game.

Every player is looking to make a name for themself and to make sure that name stays on the NBA radar.

One such player looking to make a name is Anthony Morrow. The 6-5 shooting guard out of Georgia Tech has been making his name this summer by making his shots.

In today's 90-73 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Morrow led the Warriors in scoring with a game-high 27 points. He finished the contest 9-for-16 from the field and 4-for-5 from long range. This marks the second straight game in which the Charlotte, NC, native has paced the Warriors in scoring (also had 23 points in Monday's win over New Jersey).

Thus far in two games at the RMR, "A-Mo" is averaging a team-high 25.0 points per game, while shooting 55.9% (19-34 FG) from the field, 77.8% (7-9 3FG) from long range and 83.3% (5-6 FT) from the free-throw line. Overall in five games in a Golden State uniform, he's averaged 18.6 points per game, while shooting 62.1% (36-58 FG) from the field, 81.3% (13-16 3FG) from long range and 80.0% (8-10 ft) from the free-throw line.

It was not an instant success story for Morrow in his Warriors summer league experience. Like most players in the summer league, all he wanted was an opportunity to showcase his skills. Once given that opportunity, the former Yellow Jacket has taken full advantage.

After recording a DNP-CD in each of Golden State's first two games in Las Vegas, Morrow has been increasingly impressive over the last five games. An 11-point effort in 19 minutes in his Warriors debut was followed up by a 10-point, eight-minute performance in the penultimate game in Vegas. Morrow's breakout effort came in the team's Vegas finale, when he took advantage of his 35 minutes of playing time with 22 points (9-14 FG, 3-4 3FG).

Clearly the Warriors' "other" Anthony, while playing second fiddle in name recognition to first round pick Anthony Randolph, has made HIS name in the Summer League by making shots. But he's also quietly displayed an all-around game that includes per game averages of 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists - including a stat sheet stuffing 27 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in today's victory over the Mavs.

So for all those who say that Summer League results and stats don't mean anything, don't tell that to #25 on the Warriors Summer League squad. While his stats may truly not matter in the long run, one thing certainly does matter: Anthony Morrow has made a name for himself.

POST-GAME INTERVIEWS: Following the contest, Morrow and Moncrief addressed the Salt Lake City media. Listen below:

ANTHONY MORROW INTERVIEW
SIDNEY MONCRIEF INTERVIEW

NOTES: While Game 1 in Utah was Warriors' style, Game 2 today was more vintage Summer League style. Both teams committed 21 turnovers and both teams shot well below 40% from the field (37.5% for GSW, 34.8% for DAL)…Rookie Anthony Randolph continued his high-scoring summer, posting 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. Randolph converted 14-of-17 free throws and has made 25-of-30 in the last two games.

NO SIGN OF THE NEW GUY: Just prior to tip-off, the Warriors announced that they had acquired Nets point guard Marcus Williams, who is in Salt Lake City playing for Jersey's summer squad. Williams did not make an appearance in the gym today and is scheduled to head to the Bay Area in the next couple of days to undergo a physical. Due to the scheduling and process, it is unlikely that Williams will join the Warriors Summer League squad for either of the final two games of the campaign.

OFF DAY: Wednesday is an off-day for the squad. It won't be a slow day for the Warriors organization, however, as Ronny Turiaf will be officially introduced to the Bay Area media after his contract with the Warriors was finalized over the weekend.

Monday, July 21 (10:48 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Richard Hendrix - Warriors 2008 Draft Pick

The Rookie Blog - Part 2

After playing in Vegas, Hendrix (right) and college teammate Mykal Riley will both suit up for the Warriors Rocky Mountain Revue team as well.
Finally!

I got my first taste of NBA action on Saturday in our last game of the Las Vegas Summer League against the Toronto Raptors. It took me a few minutes to shake off the nerves and the rust, which I expected since it was the first time that I had competed in a five-on-five basketball game since the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando in May.

It really felt good to be back on the hardwood sweating and banging in the post. I think I did pretty well, finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds and a couple of blocks and steals. Plus, we won the game, which was most important. We finished 4-1 overall in Las Vegas and I think the coaches were happy with the team performance.

We arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday afternoon and I'm very excited about playing in the second portion of the summer league. This is my first time in Utah and I hope to leave a good impression on the people in this state!

Monday, July 21 (10:15 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Welcome To Salt Lake City

Anthony Randolph will be one of several Warriors taking part in the Warriors' second summer league of the offseason.
The Warriors summer league squad arrived Sunday afternoon in Salt Lake City after departing Las Vegas with a successful 4-1 showing in the 2008 NBA Summer League.

However, the team that will play four games in the next five days here at the Rocky Mountain Revue will look a little different than the one that just represented the Warriors in Vegas.

Sidney Moncrief, who made an early-morning appearance on KNBR’s Morning Show this morning, is taking over the head coaching duties from Keith Smart, and the team that Sir Sid is leading here in Salt Lake City is not the same squad that just played in Vegas.

For starters, returning Warriors Marco Belinelli and C.J. Watson will not participate here, nor will NBA vets Louis Amundson, and Tamar Slay.

In total, the Warriors squad will have 10 players, including new additions Jamont Gordon and Cal product Ayinde Ubaka. Here is a look at the Warriors Rocky Mountain Revue roster:

NO. PLAYER POS HT WT BORN FROM YRS
11
Dion Dowell
G/F
6-7
205
6/11/85
Houston
R
33
G
6-4
225
3/16/87
Mississippi St.
R
35
F
6-9
255
11/15/86
Alabama
R
31
Rob Kurz
F
6-9
232
3/5/85
Notre Dame
R
25
Anthony Morrow
G
6-5
210
9/27/85
Georgia Tech
R
21
G
6-4
200
11/2/85
Duke
R
4
F
6-10
205
7/15/89
LSU
R
10
F
6-6
185
7/14/85
Alabama
R
32
F
6-9
205
10/5/87
North Carolina
1
9
G
6-4
200
2/9/85
California
R

The team will gather for a meeting this morning at the team hotel before heading over to Salt Lake Community College for a 2:15 p.m. contest (Mountain Time) against the New Jersey Nets. The reduced roster size should allow for extended looks at some players that maybe didn’t get as many minutes as they’d hoped in Las Vegas, including second round pick Richard Hendrix (who missed most of Vegas due to injury), Anthony Morrow and DeMarcus Nelson. Additionally, Golden State’s first round pick Anthony Randolph, who led the Warriors in scoring in Las Vegas at nearly 21 points per contest, will continue to show off the skills that had so many impressed in Las Vegas – including those who make the decisions about which pictures to put on the front pages of NBA.com and ESPN.com’s NBA page over the weekend.

Check back later for a game recap as well as Tim Roye’s postgame interview with Coach Moncrief.

MEDIA NOTES: The Jazz, who run the Rocky Mountain Revue, have announced the broadcast schedule for this week’s action. Unfortunately, only two of the Warriors games will be shown. Tomorrow’s contest against the Dallas Mavericks (3:30 p.m. PST) will be streamed live online. However, if the boss won’t let you watch at work, the game will also be shown on NBA TV – but you’ll have to wait a couple days. The Warriors-Mavs game is being shown on a tape-delayed basis and will be broadcast back in the Bay Area on Friday, July 25, at 10:00 a.m. (with re-airs at 7:00 p.m. that night, as well as a 5:00 a.m. showing on Sunday, July 27). Friday's contest versus Atlanta will also be streamed online, with the NBA TV tape delay date still to be determined.

Sunday, July 20 (9:08 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
warriors.com

Game 5 Recap - Leaving Las Vegas On Top

Anthony Randolph had a lot to smile about after his performance at this year's NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
The Warriors closed out a very successful stint in Las Vegas with a 95-90 victory over the Raptors on Saturday. Golden State finished up the Las Vegas NBA Summer League with a 4-1 record, tying the Nuggets and the Bucks for the top overall mark in the 21-team league.

Once again, the players turning the most heads on Saturday were Anthony Randolph and Marco Belinelli. With C.J. Watson sitting out the final game, Randolph and Marco Belinelli handled most of the ballhandling responsibilities for the Warriors, and each showed that they were more than capable. The 6'10 Randolph continued to impress onlookers with his ability to snare rebounds and lead the break on his own. Belinelli, meanwhile, handed out eight assists, showing he can do more than just shoot the lights out. The two young Warriors were some of the most talked about players during the 10-day event...and for good reason. Randolph played four games and finished his stint with averages of 20.8 points and 7.8 rebounds, while shooting 84.4% from the free throw line (27-32 FTs). Belinelli suited up in all five contests and averaged 17.8 points, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

And while Belinelli's performance was almost expected, given his success in last year's Summer League, Randolph's was more of a surprise. Taken with the 14th pick in the draft, the then-18-year-old Randolph was seen as a project who was much too thin and much too raw to contribute right away. And while his immediate impact on the Warriors is yet to be seen, there are sure to be more believers in the slender forward from LSU than there were three weeks ago.

Two such 'believers' are NBA.com's Dave McMenamin and ESPN.com's J.A. Adande, who each wrote about Randolph and the Warriors following their five-game Vegas stint.

The finale also marked the summer league debut of 2008 second round pick Richard Hendrix. Playing just 15 minutes off the bench, Hendrix made the most of his opportunity by finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. The ever-active big man from Alabama grabbed six rebounds on the offensive end and showed exactly why the Warriors were so happy to have landed him with the 49th overall pick in this year's draft.

The contributions of free agent invitee Anthony Morrow also cannot go unnoticed. The 6'5 Morrow shot 9-14 from the field and finished with 22 points in what was his most impressive game of the summer.

The Warriors will get to see more of Randolph, Hendrix, Morrow and others as they head to Utah to participate in the Rocky Mountain Revue. And while the roster will look a bit different than the Vegas team, the Warriors are hoping for the same results.

GAME 5 LINKS

Saturday, July 19 (8:55 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Game 4 Recap - First Loss, Hendrix Nearing Return, Turiaf Signed

Forced to be a spectator thus far, Hendrix (left) hopes to make his summer league debut very soon.
Richard Hendrix is excited.

He's nervous.

He's anxious.

He's impatient.

In reality, he's like a little kid in anticipation of Christmas morning. It can't get here soon enough and the seemingly endless wait for the Big Day is creating enough nervous energy to light a ballroom.

Hendrix, the Warriors' second round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, was looking forward to participating in the Las Vegas Summer League with his new teammates. He was thrilled to be drafted by Golden State and, likewise, the Warriors where ecstatic when he was still on the board when they made their selection at #49. However, a strained left quad forced the 6'9" forward to the sidelines for the first several days of the Summer League, relegating him to a status he was none too pleased about ---- watching, waiting and wondering.

The ribbon and wrapping paper were partially removed from the boxes on Thursday, when Hendrix participated in his first full-court scrimmage since arriving in Las Vegas nine days ago. Finally, he was out on the basketball court, running, banging and working up a good sweat with his teammates. It was a welcomed relief for Hendrix and certainly a positive sign for the Warriors. Now, it's just a matter of time - and hopefully not much - before the Alabama product officially dons his Golden State Summer League jersey and takes the floor in an actual game.

When he does make his much-anticipated appearance - most likely next Monday in Salt Lake City - Hendrix will display the intriguing intangibles that made him one of the top players in the SEC in recent years. He has the ability to score, rebound and defend and, of course, he'll bring his "smarts" to the floor. He is one of only a handful of NBA players who have graduated from college in THREE years. Heck, he's one of only a handful of PEOPLE to graduate from college in three years. It's not an easy task to accomplish, especially with the time demands of a college basketball player.

As a senior last season at Alabama, Hendrix was the lone player in the SEC to average double figures in both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (10.1). Additionally, he ranked third in field goal percentage (.598) and fifth in blocked shots (1.94) in a conference that is considered one of the strongest in college basketball on an annual basis (by the way, one of his collegiate teammates, Mykal Riley, is also playing on Golden State's summer league squad). He also appears to be a player who makes the most of his opportunities on offense; he shot almost 60% from the floor during his three-year tenure with the Crimson Tide (.590), including 60.2% as a sophomore in 2006-07.

Although unfair for a player who has yet to log a minute in an NBA game, many observers have compared Hendrix to a couple of other strong rebounding, hustle-type reserve forwards in the NBA, including Utah's Paul Millsap and Houston's Carl Landry. It remains to be seen if he can be as effective as those two players in this league, although both Millsap and Landry were also second round picks who seemed to seep through the cracks on draft night. If Hendrix can show any resemblance to those players on the floor, the Warriors will be very, very happy.

Golden State has, indeed, been very happy with many of its second round picks in recent years. In fact, the Warriors have been one of the most successful teams in the NBA in plucking talent in the second round of the draft. In 2001, it was Gilbert Arenas. In 2005, it was Monta Ellis. How many teams have drafted two All-Star caliber players in the second round in the last eight years? Not many. Of course, it remains to be seen how good of a player Hendrix might be - or if he will contribute at all - during his rookie season. But, if his resume from college - both on the floor and in the classroom - is any indication, Golden State just might have another sleeper on its hands.

Despite missing the services of Hendrix thus far in the summer, the Warriors sit tied for first place in the Vegas Summer League with a 3-1 record. The team suffered its first loss on Friday night when they fell in a 94-91 contest versus the Sacramento Kings. C.J. Watson helped keep the Warriors in the game throughout the night, finishing with 24 points and six assists, while rookie Anthony Randolph continued to impress onlookers by tallying 16 points and six rebounds in his 26 minutes on the floor.

The Warriors announced the signing of 6'10 forward Ronny Turiaf on Saturday. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE
Following Friday's game, the Warriors were informed that the Los Angeles Lakers had elected not to match their offer to restricted free agent forward Ronnie Turiaf. As you might recall, Turiaf is another frontcourt player who was selected in the second round of the NBA draft (2005) and has exceeded expectations at the next level. Last season, he played a key role - bigger than the casual observer would think - in the Lakers run to the NBA Finals. He played 20-plus minutes on 35 occasions - almost half of the Lakers' games - and registered pretty impressive numbers when doing so (10.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.14 blocked shots).

A three-year NBA veteran, Turiaf was drafted three spots ahead of Monta Ellis in the 2005 Draft (#37 and #40, respectively). Now, they will be teammates and their youthful exuberance will undoubtedly have the ORACLE Arena fans on their feet on many occasions during the upcoming season. In fact, Turiaf indicated to the Warriors during negotiations that one reason he was excited about the possibility of playing for the Warriors is the atmosphere in Oakland. He is an energetic player who feeds off the crowd. And, with that being the case, I assume he will not go home hungry at any point during the season.

Turiaf is tentatively scheduled to meet the media in Oakland on Wednesday after he has completed his physical examination. In a perfect world, our fans will have a chance to see both of the newest Warriors - Hendrix and Turiaf - in the next few days.

It feels like Christmas in July.

GAME 4 LINKS

Thursday, July 17 (8:48 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Oakland Native's Learning Continues After College

Despite graduating from Duke University, DeMarcus Nelson is still juggling several assignments this summer.
I'm not privy to the list, but I would assume DeMarcus Nelson took a myriad of classes during his four-year stint at Duke University.

English? Probably. Economics? Maybe. Political Science? Not sure.

Chemistry? I hope so.

The last of those courses would have certainly prepared him well for the assignment he faces this summer. Nelson, like a good majority of players auditioning for NBA jobs during the Las Vegas Summer League, finds himself in a difficult position. As a reserve on the Warriors' Summer League team, the 6'4" point guard has the dubious task of meshing with 13 other players, some of which he probably met for the first time in his life less than 10 days ago. And, as a point guard responsible for orchestrating an offense and making sure everyone is in sync, the task is further complicated.

Sounds like fun, huh? How would you like to be fresh out of college and have your career hanging in the balance as your potential future employer analyzes every move you make in a setting where teamwork is ultra important? Of course, the group in which you are trying to co-exist consists of a bunch of strangers who are also jockeying for a position and a job. Johnny, meet Justin. Freddie, meet Michael. Jimmy, meet Colin. And, after you have the opportunity to learn each other's names, we'd like for you to work very closely together for the next two weeks as a group. Based on what we see, we'll probably ask two of you to join us again in October and you'll have another chance to prove yourself and maybe, just maybe, we'll offer you a permanent job.

Ah, the perils of Summer League.

In all seriousness, the uphill climb that DeMarcus Nelson and the other 150-plus free-agent hopefuls participating in the Las Vegas Summer League face is rather daunting. The conditions are far from ideal and the pressure can be overbearing. These kids do not have the luxury of the 60 players who were selected ahead of them in the 2008 NBA Draft in June. Half of those players - the 30 selected in the first round - will receive a guaranteed two-year contract that will compensate them handsomely (roughly $1 million to $6 million total, depending on how high they were drafted). The players selected in the second round, meanwhile, do not have the benefit of a guaranteed two-year contract, but many of them will receive some sort of security before training camp begins in October.

Nelson is looking to earn an NBA job with the Warriors after finishing up a stellar career at Duke.
The long odds facing Nelson, however, have not fazed the Oakland native. In fact, if Wednesday was any indication, the ever-confident kid seems to be handling the burden extremely well and welcomes the challenge.

Dressed in his Warriors practice gear (on a non-practice day, mind you), there was the former Blue Devil, holding an official NBA basketball under his arm, smiling and casually walking through a busy casino at the team hotel. Unlike some of his Summer League teammates, he did not take the day off on Wednesday, electing to work on his game at a local gym. And, as you can tell from the basketball attached to his arm, he has yet to become accustomed to the lifestyle of a player in the NBA, where carrying your own ball is about as common as Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.

Nelson's confidence is derived from three areas: First, he has played well in practice and that has carried over to the minutes he has logged on the court in Golden State's first three Summer League outings. Two, he attended a big-time basketball program at Duke, where he gained valuable experience and played against some of the best players in the country over the last four years. And, finally, he has a reputation as a defensive specialist, which is very uncommon for an NBA rookie, falling somewhere between Chamberlain's 100-point game and a 90-percent free-throw shooter.

Last season, Nelson was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a noteworthy accomplishment for a guard. Additionally, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils, who compiled an impressive 28-6 record. He concluded his four-year stint in Durham as one of only six players in school history to amass more than 1,300 points, 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 125 steals. And, although he was not considered a pure outside shooter, he did shoot 49 percent from the floor and just less than 40 percent from three-point range - all impressive numbers and worthy of NBA attention.

An Oakland native, Nelson attended Vallejo High School for three years before transferring to Sheldon High for his senior season.
His numbers have not been overwhelmingly impressive during the Summer League - 5.3 points and 1.3 assists in 10.0 minutes per game - but Nelson seems to be a player who cannot be accurately judged by his numbers. C.J. Watson, who played in 32 games with the Warriors last season, has logged the majority of the minutes at point guard for the Warriors Summer League squad and figures to do so the remainder of the schedule.

Nelson, however, has impressed Coach Keith Smart in his limited minutes and in his practice habits and performance. His defensive prowess has been extremely notable in both practice and games, when he makes it a chore for the opposing point guard to simply reach the front court and initiate the offense. He enjoys pressuring the ball and uses his strong frame and quickness to his advantage.

Nelson, who was born in Oakland and attended Vallejo High School, was obviously disappointed when he was not drafted in June. He thought his body of work at Duke would warrant a selection. However, the fact that he is now a free agent and has the chance to pick a situation/team that is conducive to his style and where he has a legitimate opportunity to earn a job is a positive sign. Could you imagine his feeling should he stick with the Warriors and make the immediate transfer from the Cameron Crazies at Duke to the Outrageous ORACLE fans in Oakland? He'll feel right at home.

We won't know for several weeks if the 22-year old Nelson will make it in the NBA with the Warriors or another team this season. But, if he continues to demonstrate many of the intangibles, like his ability to defend and run a team, during the remainder of Summer League, then there is a very good chance that he won't have to worry about one particular class should he elect to attend graduate school at Duke.

Finance.

Wednesday, July 16 (10:15 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Game 3 Recap - Not Your Typical Vegas Vacation

Summer League Head Coach Keith Smart and staff have made sure that the team is hard at work in Las Vegas. VIEW FULL PHOTO GALLERY
Apparently, Keith Smart did not get the memo.

Las Vegas is a destination location for visitors all over the world to experience fun, good times and relaxation. And, if they can mix in a little good luck inside the casinos, all the better.

Well, under the tutelage of Smart, the Warriors' Summer League coach, the players might be gaining some valuable experience in this city, but not necessarily of the fun variety. Smart has made it very clear why the Warriors are spending part of July in this desert metropolis - to work. And work. And work a little more.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Coach Smart took advantage of the late 7:30 p.m. start time and scheduled an 11:00 a.m. shootaround at the Thomas & Mack Center. That's right, a shootaround at the Summer League. Shootarounds are typically reserved for regular season games and provides teams a chance to run through the scouting reports of that night's opponent and, in general, gives the players a chance to get loose in the morning (and out of bed). Tuesday's shootaround and subsequent game marked the eighth-consecutive day the Warriors either practiced or played a game in Las Vegas. Eight days. Nine practices (or shootarounds). Three games. And, with two days off prior to the next game on Friday, the Warriors are scheduled to practice on Thursday.

The message from Bob Knight's Disciple: This is a business trip.

The hard work and determination continued to pay dividends on Tuesday, when the Warriors defeated the Charlotte Bobcats, 99-93, and improved their Summer League record to an unblemished 3-0. Marco Belinelli, who might petition the NBA to move Golden State's home games to Las Vegas, scored a team-leading 30 points, including 21 in the first half, on 9-of-15 shooting.

Of course, we are not serious about the potential of a petition, but we certainly get the sense that Mr. Belinelli enjoys playing on the UNLV campus. Dating back to last July's Summer League, the Italian star has averaged 22.9 points in seven games in Las Vegas, including a pair of 30-point outings.

Marco Belinelli continued to light up the Las Vegas scoreboards with 30 points on Tuesday against Charlotte. (warriors.com photo)
Other than his 37-point outburst in the opening game last year, Tuesday's performance might have been his most efficient. In addition to shooting a high percentage from the floor - including 3-of-4 on three-pointers - he was perfect from the charity stripe (9-of-9) and converted a few critical freebees from the line in the decisive fourth quarter. All in all, a very nice outing for Marco as he continues his quest to prove to Don Nelson that he deserves a chance to play when the 2008-09 regular season rolls around in November.

Belinelli, who is not expected to join the Warriors in the second half of the Summer League in Salt Lake City, has scored a total of 55 points in the last two games (25 and 30, respectively).

Smart, meanwhile, continues to push Belinelli and the other 13 players on Golden State's Summer League roster. He did elect to give the squad a much-deserved day off on Wednesday, but the teaching will continue to Thursday when the team holds a practice at Cox Pavilion at noon. Smart has indicated that part of the reason for the near regular season-like ritual is to try to acclimate the players - including rookies Anthony Randolph and Richard Hendrix - to NBA life. You can't argue with that rationale, especially when a player like Brandan Wright has suggested that his biggest challenge during his rookie season last year was overcoming the grueling schedule. Now, there are no road trips or 2,000-mile flights to make during the Summer League, but pushing the players during July with hard practices, shootarounds and a packed schedule is certainly one way to help ease the transition in October and November.

One player who is looking forward to the transition is Randolph, who had one of the most interesting comments during the team's meeting with NBA executives last Saturday. As part of the meeting, each player was asked what he hoped to accomplish both on and off the court in the future. The overwhelming majority of the players simply said they hoped to continue to improve as a player. Randolph, however, went a little further. The 6'10" rookie, who officially signed with the Warriors on Tuesday, said that he "wants to be one of the best ever." The words slid off his tongue rather easily and you can certainly see the confidence and desire in the young man from LSU. Part of being a great player is to want it and if he continues to work - especially with his talent, ability and youth - the sky is the limit. Randolph spoke to our very own Tim Roye yesterday, and you can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Several reputable basketball observers, including longtime scout Marty Blake, believe that Randolph will eventually grow to be a 7-footer. The last time I looked, there were not many small forwards in the NBA in the 7-foot range. If that scenario develops, he'll have a much better chance of achieving his "one of the best-ever" tags, especially with his skill set. I'm sure Nellie (or whoever might be the coach at that time) would find a way to utilize a player of that size at small forward. The possibilities, really, are endless, especially in the type of fast-paced system the Warriors currently utilize.

C.J. Watson will host a basketball camp later this week in his native Las Vegas. (warriors.com photo)
Guard C.J. Watson, who is a native of Las Vegas and has helped fill the stands with family and friends, has performed admirably during the Summer League, highlighted by a 23-point, seven-assist effort during Tuesday's win over the Bobcats. Watson and Charlotte's first-round pick, D.J. Augustin, staged a nice battle throughout the game. The two aggressive point guards combined for a total of 27 free throws attempted (16 by Watson) and you could certainly sense a little pride and competitive fire emanating from Watson, who went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2006. Augustin, as you might recall, was the 9th player chosen in the 2008 NBA Draft in June.

After joining the Warriors in the middle of last season, Watson has proven to be a more-than-capable NBA reserve. He averaged 3.7 points and 1.1 assists in 32 games with Golden State last season and is trying to earn a spot on Don Nelson's squad again in 2008-09. He has shown the ability to run an offense and has demonstrated a knack to score via his aggressiveness at the offensive end of the floor. Prior to his D-League call-up in January, he ranked third in the league in scoring, averaging 26.2 points per game and earned D-League Player of the Month honors in December. However, he will not be required to be a big-time scorer in the Warriors' system; the team would be happy with a player who can be a calming influence on the floor and distribute the ball to the players who are paid to light up the scoreboard. C.J has the tools to do just that and will get an extended look during the remainder of the Summer League.

Watson is scheduled to hold a basketball camp for local Las Vegas children later this week (July 17-19) at the Doolittle Convention Center. The camp - referred to as "Hoops for Hope" - has been partially organized by his mother and is an avenue for C.J. to give back to a community that has been a part of his life for many years. (He attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.)

Notes: One positive sign derived from our stay in Las Vegas has been Randolph's presence in the buffet line at the team hotel. On Sunday, the 200-pound rookie informed me that he ventured back to top off his plate three different times. I assume he did it to aid his growth (and satisfy his appetite); I did it because I wanted to get my money's worth from the $29 price tag ... On the bus ride back to the team hotel following Tuesday's shootaround, Coach Smart had the players sing happy birthday to Randolph, who turned 19. Let's just say the results of Tuesday night's game against Charlotte were much more impressive than the singing exploits of the Warriors' players ... Randolph did not play in Tuesday's game, as he rested a sprained left ankle suffered during Sunday's contest vs. Dallas. He is questionable for Friday's game against Sacramento ... Forward Richard Hendrix (strained left quad) continues to make progress and remains hopeful that he'll be able to play at some point during the Summer League, either in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City.

GAME 3 LINKS

Monday, July 14 (8:38 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Game 2 Recap - Amazing Happens In Las Vegas, Too

Marco Belinelli made several highlight-type plays during Sunday's win over the Mavericks. VIEW FULL PHOTO GALLERY
I guess Amazing does Happen, even during the Summer League. Check this out for proof:
  • Sunday's games at UNLV's Cox Pavilion attracted a sellout crowd.
  • Warriors' guard Marco Belinelli was featured on ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day (#10) as the result of the three-pointer he drilled from 28-feet at the end of the first half.
  • Two games were televised by NBA TV.
When I first entered the league in the early 1990s, the Summer League was pretty much relegated to hard core basketball fans and ESPN highlights were about as common as a July snowstorm in Vegas. Over the last 15 years, the West Coast version of the league has moved from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, to UC Irvine in Orange County to Long Beach State. But it looks like the league has finally found a home in Las Vegas, where it has staged its annual event since 2004.

Warren LeGarie, an NBA agent and the man who oversees the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, was beaming from ear-to-ear on Sunday when he said, "We need to open Thomas & Mack" a little sooner (the league will utilize both Cox Pavilion and the adjoining Thomas & Mack Center for games later this week). There was not an empty seat inside Cox Pavilion by the middle of the third quarter of the Warriors/Mavericks game on Sunday, and it would not surprise me if fans were turned away at the box office. The amount of publicity and attention the league and teams have generated for the Summer League in recent years has increased dramatically. Not only are large crowds becoming the norm, but almost every one of the 21 teams on hand now has at least one or two of their beat writers covering the league. For the Warriors, Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle was in town for the first several days in Vegas and Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area Media News Group will arrive on Tuesday.

Of course, the heavy hitters from the national media outlets - such as Marc Stein from ESPN.com and Johnny Ludden from Yahoo.com - also find their way to Vegas this time of the year. And when SportsCenter is including incredible plays on their nightly show and Snapper Jones is sitting courtside providing his unique color commentary on NBA TV, you can see how far things have come since the days of Gersten Pavilion at LMU.

Yes, the league is thriving.

And, through two Summer League games, so are the Warriors.

Brandan Wright has put up two straight solid performances to open the summer league. (photo: David Dow/NBAE/Getty)
Sunday's 95-86 win over the Dallas Mavericks improved Golden State's Summer League mark to 2-0. If you missed the action yesterday, you can watch the game in its entirity by clicking here. But if you don't have nearly two hours to kill, then I would recomend that you watch the highlights.

Marco Belinelli scored a game-high 25 points (9-19 FGs, 5-7 FTs), including the aforementioned long three-pointer at the end of the first half that helped increase the Warriors lead to eight (46-38) at intermission. Belinelli, who also spent several minutes at point guard for the Warriors, continued to show the ability to knock down shots off the dribble and from just about anywhere on the floor. His range - and the ability to convert what seem to be off-balance shots with defenders near him - is an intangible that could provide him a great opportunity to crack Don Nelson's rotation next season.

The departure of Baron Davis and Mickael Pietrus leave a small void in three-point shooters currently on the Warriors' roster. Belinelli could certainly fit the bill in an area of need. As you might recall, he drilled 5-of-6 three-pointers in Golden State's final regular season game last season against Seattle. If he can do that on a consistent basis - the key for any NBA player - Nellie would be a happy man and the crowds at ORACLE Arena would almost certainly be in a frenzy on a nightly basis. The key for Belinelli is to remain confident in his skills and his ability to contribute. Last year was obviously a learning experience for him, but he has worked hard this summer and is probably in the best shape he's been in at any point in the last few years.

Personally, I don't view last season as a lost year for Belinelli or Brandan Wright. Quite the opposite. If you look at the regular development of an NBA player, most of them (especially those not drafted in the top five) do not make an immediate impact during their rookie campaigns. Look at Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis as perfect examples. Despite joining the Warriors as highly-touted kids, neither Biedrins or Ellis played a lot during their initial seasons in the NBA. Sure, they scratched the surface and showed flashes of brilliance - as did Belinelli and Wright last season - but they spent the majority of their rookie seasons cheering from the bench during the games and working extra hours after practice on off-days.

The patience and hard work finally paid off in the second year of their careers, when both Andris and Monta began to experience increased playing time. Now, at the tender age of 22, both players have proven to be two of the best young talents in the league and are in line to be compensated accordingly this summer. Did most of us think that would be the case at the end of their rookie years? Probably not.

The moral of this story? Don't be surprised if Belinelli and Wright eventually parallel the roads traveled by their teammates. It's a common theme in this business.

Of course, there are a few uncommon events transpiring in Las Vegas this summer, too. One, for example, is the off-the-court friendships that have been continued and/or developed between the players on the Summer League roster. If I were to ask you to pair together any two players on the 14-man team, based on their likelihood of co-existing, the last place you'd probably start would be with a North Carolina and Duke duo. However, that is exactly what has happened here, where Brandan Wright and DeMarcus Nelson having been seen chumming around, having lunch and hanging out during their spare time in Las Vegas. I wonder what Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams would have to say about this Odd Couple? I guess what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas.

One thing the NBA hopes all Summer League players will leave Las Vegas with is a better understanding of how the league operates as a business. Following Saturday's practice, two representatives from the NBA's Player Development Department (Rory Sparrow and Dr. Janice Hilliard) lectured the Warriors and Detroit Pistons for 45 minutes on various topics about the league and stressed what an important asset each player is to the overall success of the business. The meeting opened up a lot of eyes, not only for the players who were in the NBA last season (e.g. Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli and C.J. Watson), but for those who are attempting to earn a job in The Greatest League in Professional Sports. The meeting addressed the overall mission of the NBA (to be known at the most respected and successful sports league in the world), the importance of the reputation and perception of the players and how important it is for the players to develop off the court from a Community Relations, PR and overall business perspective.

Anthony Randolph sprained his left ankle on Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday's contest vs. Charlotte. (photo: David Dow/NBAE/Getty)
Notes: Prior to Sunday's game, the Warriors released guard/forward Jamaal Moore ... Forward Richard Hendrix (strained left quad) did not play in Sunday's game, but is hopeful of suiting up at some point before the team departs Las Vegas following next Saturday's contest ... Forward Anthony Randolph, who followed-up his 30-point performance on Friday with 11 points and five rebounds on Sunday, suffered a sprained left ankle in the first half and was limited to 26 minutes. His status for Tuesday is questionable ... The Warriors will practice on Monday afternoon in preparation for Tuesday's contest against the Charlotte Bobcats (7:30 p.m.) ... Keith Smart is scheduled to be a guest on KNBR's morning show on Monday (8:30 a.m.) ... Corey Maggette is tentatively scheduled to be a guest on KNBR's Razor and Mr. T show on Monday (time TBD) ... Marco Belinelli will be interviewed by Tim Roye for Warriors.com on Monday afternoon. The interview will be available late Monday afternoon on Warriors Summer League Central.

GAME 2 LINKS

Sunday, July 13 (9:12 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Richard Hendrix - Warriors 2008 Draft Pick

The Rookie Blog - Part 1

Richard is hoping that he will heal in time to play at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.
Greetings from Las Vegas, where I'll be for the next week with our Summer League team (before heading for Salt Lake City for another week of games). For the most part, I've really been enjoying my time here in the Desert and we are staying at one of the nicest resorts in the city. In the short time that I've been around, I can certainly tell that the Warriors, as an organization, take very good care of their players, both at home and on the road.

We won our first game in the 2008 NBA Summer League against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday afternoon at UNLV. I felt like our team played well, but we can always improve, especially in the turnover department. For me personally, the trip has been bittersweet. It's exciting to have an NBA franchise's logo across your chest and it really makes me proud to be a Golden State Warrior. On the downside, I've been sidelined by an unfortunate quad injury. I've been getting treatment around the clock with our excellent training staff (headed by Tom Abdenour) and I have high hopes of returning to the court soon and helping our squad win a few more games. In the meantime, all I can do is focus on our plays from the sidelines, listen to Coach Smart and be the best "Hype Man" in Las Vegas! I hope to be running and ballin' real soon! The anxiety I have in anticipation of playing in an actual game is increasing by the day and probably raising my blood pressure a little. But, my time will come and I need to be patient.

Saturday, July 12 (9:20 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

Game 1 Recap - Randolph Impresses In Debut

The Warriors tipped things off with a 96-89 victory on Friday. VIEW FULL PHOTO GALLERY
It's July.

It's 110 degrees.

It's the glittering lights and the constant feeling of either euphoria or depression among the revelers.

It must be Las Vegas and the NBA Summer League.

After arriving in this ever-growing city on Tuesday and running through three days of two-a-day practices, the Warriors Summer League team finally took the court in the inaugural game of the annual event on Friday afternoon at UNLV's Cox Pavilion. And, just as was the case on the opening day of the league 12 months ago, Golden State's first round pick had the crowd buzzing as Coach Keith Smart's team defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 96-89. Rookie Anthony Randolph, who was selected 14th overall in the first round of June's NBA Draft by the Warriors, scored a game-high 30 points (12-18 FGs, 6-7 FTs), grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals in 31 minutes. Now, we can see what Coach Don Nelson was referring to when he told Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News that Randolph just "has it" earlier this week. For good measure, I also visited with Ronnie Lester, the Lakers' Assistant GM, following the game and he noted how Randolph "reminds me of Lamar Odom."

Obviously, we must remember that it is only the Summer League, but the skill level, ability and athleticism that Randolph displayed on Friday were pretty impressive for a kid who will not turn 19 until next week. He demonstrated the unique ability for a 6'10" player to handle the ball and push it up the floor. He did this countless times throughout the contest and looked as though he was extremely comfortable with the ball in his hands. Plus, his athleticism and jumping ability - if not his slight body - allows him to rebound and elevate over defenders on his jump shot. If one game is any indication, he has a very nice (much better than I expected) stroke in the 15-18 foot range, but will probably have the ability to extend that to the 3-point line with practice and maturation. And, as icing on the cake, he's an active defender and registered two blocked shots, including an impressive one late in the contest that helped seal the win for the Warriors.

I'd say Ronnie Lester's observation is pretty astute.

Randolph's 30-point, eight-rebound debut had the Cox Pavilion buzzing on Friday.
As the curtain closed on the first day of business in the Vegas Summer League (4 total games), Randolph's 30-point/eight-rebound performance was unequivocally the best performance of any player in the gym. Again, the last thing we want to do is put a youngster who was born in 1989 in the Hall of Fame or even Nellie's rotation at this point, but it looks like Mr. Randolph has the potential to be a special player in this league. I'm not sure if that will happen next season, two years from now or in 2010-11, but it appears that he has a chance to be a pretty productive forward in the NBA. However, all of us - me, you, the media - need to relax and give him time to ease into his role and experience the typical growing pains of an NBA rookie. He's going to make mistakes, he's going to look lost at time, he's going to throw up a few airballs and will probably look confused and overmatched on a number of occasions. In all honesty, each one of us probably looked like a deer in headlights in our jobs at various times when we were 19 or 20. So will this kid.

As Chris Mullin noted on draft night, Randolph is most likely a small forward, despite the observations of many national media pundits who still question why Golden State would draft another power forward (like Brandan Wright). His ability to handle the ball and create a shot on the perimeter are clearly skills of a small forward and not a bruiser who will spend the majority of his time in the paint. In truth, he could probably play a little power forward or even shooting guard at times, but those positions, most likely, will not be his natural spot on the floor. Randolph's versatility, in fact, supports Nellie's "he just has it" comment. I assume it's quite possible that none of us know what his best position will be, but we do know that he is a talented basketball player with a bright future.

it's evident that Randolph and Wright can play together and could eventually form a very formidable and athletic forward duo for many years to come in Oakland. Toss in another youngster, 22-year old "veteran" Andris Biedrins, and Golden State will have cornered the market on talented, up-and-coming left handed frontcourt players. All three youngsters - Randolph, Wright and Biedrins - are good fits for the style of play the Warriors like to employ --- up-tempo, fast and furious. And, their ability to block shots will certainly aid a team that is looking to run and every opportunity. The trio needs to improve their shooting range and ability to knock down jump shots, but that is all part of the process. The Warriors, you might recall, drafted a player a few years ago, Jason Richardson, who reportedly could not shoot. Well, the kid promptly established a franchise record for 3-pointers made in a single season three or four years later. Bottom line? Talented young player such as Randolph, Wright and Biedrins have the tools and work ethic to improve and, most likely, will do just that in every aspect of their game.

One tantalizing aspect of Randolph's game that already appears to be a strength -- again, in Summer League -- is his ability to create a shot for himself. On more than one occasion on Friday, his teammate deferred to him and allowed him to isolate his defender at the top of the key. He drained a couple of 16-17 foot pull-up jump shots in this set and also drove to the basket and was fouled (by the way, he converted 6-7 FTs, which is always a positive sign). It is easy to see how he averaged over 20 points and 8 rebounds per outing over the final nine games of his Freshman season at LSU last year. And, when you really begin to contemplate about an 18-year old tot compiling numbers like that in a pretty tough conference like the SEC, it makes you wonder if we should really be surprised by his Summer League outing on Friday. He appears to be a boy among men, but some of the results would make you believe he's really just the opposite.

Notes: Forward Richard Hendrix, Golden State's second round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, has not practiced much in Vegas due to a strained left quad suffered prior to arriving at the Summer League. However, he is making progress and hopes to play at some point in the next few days. In the meantime, the Alabama product is visibly frustrated by his sidelined status and it itching to get out on the floor and prove his worth to the coaches and staff. He will also prove his worth as a communications major in college as he has agreed to write a few blogs for Warriors.com during the Summer League.

GAME 1 LINKS

BRANDAN WRIGHT POST-GAME INTERVIEW

Thursday, July 10 (9:13 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors PR

We're Heating Up

Brandan Wright sat out last year's Summer League due to injury, but he'll be ready for action this time around.
Everywhere in the Bay Area I’ve gone over the past few days, I’ve heard nothing but “Oh, It’s so hot.” Or, “I can’t believe how warm it is!” My advice: Don’t bring that up to the Warriors Summer League Team, its coaching or training staff.

The Warriors arrived in Las Vegas on Monday for the annual NBA Summer League, presented by EA Sports. At last check, the temperature in Vegas was a balmy 94 degrees … Did I mention that was at 9:00 in the morning? Temperatures are expected to peak today at around 108 degrees. I don’t know if you’ve been to Vegas in July, but it’s a whole other animal. They say when it gets over 100 degrees it’s all the same, but I can tell you it’s certainly not!

The team, led by Assistant Coach Keith Smart, has been partaking in two-a-day practice sessions preparing for the upcoming games, which begin on Friday.

This morning Coach Smart spoke with Tim Roye about the team's first few days in Las Vegas. Listen to his interview below:

Most of the guys have not played together before and certainly not in the run-and-gun style that Warriors and NBA fans have come to enjoy. Golden State is hoping to get a little peak into the future, as its projected Summer League starting five consists of C.J. Watson, Marco Belinelli, Brandan Wright along with the recently-drafted Anthony Randolph (2008 NBA Draft, #14 overall) and Richard Hendrix (2008 NBA Draft, #49 overall).

Belinelli, as you might recall from last year, wowed the Vegas crowd with a 37-point Summer League debut less than 24 hours after arriving from Italy. Meanwhile, Wright looks to build on the success he saw at the end of the 2007-08 regular season. After missing the 2007 Summer League due to injury, it’d be safe to say that Wright will be one of the most watched players on the team this season. And the same can be said for Golden State’s highly touted rookie class consisting of Randolph and Hendrix. Those aren’t the only guys I’m looking forward to watching, check out the rest of the Warriors Summer League squad:

NO. PLAYER POS HT WT FROM
20
F
6-9
225
UNLV
18
G
6-5
192
Italy
11
Dion Dowell
G/f
6-7
205
Houston
35
F
6-9
255
Alabama
31
Rob Kurz
F
6-9
232
Notre Dame
12
Reggie Larry
F
6-6
225
Boise State
28
Jamaal Moore
G/F
6-6
195
Rice
25
Anthony Morrow
G
6-5
210
Georgia Tech
21
G
6-4
200
Duke
4
F
6-10
205
LSU
10
F
6-6
185
Alabama
33
G/F
6-8
220
Marshall
23
G
6-2
175
Tennessee
32
F
6-9
205
North Carolina
6
Ian Young
G
6-3
200
Auburn

We'll finally be able to see Anthony Randolph play in a Warriors uniform this summer.
Fans looking to catch all the action but avoid the heat can visit nba.com, which will webcast all 53 games from Las Vegas. In addition, NBA TV will be broadcasting 23 games from the Summer League, including two Warriors contests (7/13 vs. Dallas at 3 p.m. and 7/18 vs. Sacramento at 7 p.m.). And of course, don’t forget to check in daily to warriors.com. We’ll be providing blog updates, feature stories, interviews with players and coaches, plus a few more special surprises.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for the next couple of weeks. We finally get a chance to see these young guys play and watch some of the “veterans” reap the fruits of their hard labor this summer. Golden State plays five games in Las Vegas before heading north to Salt Lake City, where they’ll play in four games in the Rocky Mountain Revue, presented by StoresOnline. And if that’s not enough basketball action for you, just check out all of the player movement since Wednesday when free agents were officially allowed to sign contracts.

Thursday, July 10 (8:30 a.m.)

SUBMITTED BY:
Warriors.com

Welcome To Warriors Summer League Central

Golden State's Marco Belinelli will certainly be among the players to watch this summer in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Welcome to Warriors Summer League Central. Throughout the month of July, this will be the best place to go for all of your Warriors news and updates as the team participates in the NBA Summer League, presented by EA Sports, in Las Vegas and the Rocky Mountain Revue, presented by Stores Online, in Salt Lake City.

The Warriors' summer league team, headlined by Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, C.J. Watson and 2008 Draft Picks Anthony Randolph and Richard Hendrix, is currently preparing for its first Summer League action with a series of practices at a Las Vegas high school. By the end of this mini-camp, one can be sure that the team will be ready when they open up their Summer League schedule against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at 1 p.m. (PDT).

Warriors fans can watch all of their favorite team's games in Las Vegas live on NBA.com. In addition, two of the five Warriors' games in Las Vegas - Sunday, July 13, vs. Dallas and Friday, July 18, vs. Sacramento will be broadcast on NBA TV.

Be sure to come back soon, as we will be providing constant updates to the team's progress throughout the Summer League. With video highlights, audio interviews, insider blogs, postgame reports and feature stories, warriors.com is sure to provide the most complete and comprehensive coverage of the team throughout the summer.

And if you've been out on vacation and want to get caught up on what you may have missed, check out the following links:

VISIT WARRIORS SUMMER LEAGUE CENTRAL

BLOG ARCHIVE


BLOG ROSTER


ANDRIS BIEDRINS




WARRIORS.COM




WARRIORS PR




TIM ROYE




BOB FITZGERALD




WARRIOR GIRL ALEXIS




2008 DRAFT BLOG




2008 SUMMER LEAGUE BLOG


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