During this year's Training Camp and pre-season, warriors.com will feature complete behind-the-scenes coverage from a variety of Warriors sources. With submissions from the full-time Blog Squad roster, the Warriors 2008 Training Camp Blog is the best place for Warriors fans wanting the inside scoop on all of the team's preparations for the coming year, including its trip to China in October.
Nelson will showcase his talents tomorrow night as
the Warriors' starting point guard. (warriors.com
If you think the Warriors' 15-man roster is already set and the team is just waiting the pre-season out to make its two final cuts, think again. There are jobs still to be won, minutes still to be earned and positions still to be filled. Opening Night is 19 days away, and it wouldn't surprise anybody if the Warriors take the maximum allotment of time allowed to officially set their roster.
One of the several players still vying for a roster spot is DeMarcus Nelson. Head Coach Don Nelson gave the Oakland-born guard little to no chance of making the club when camp opened last month, but the Duke product has exceeded expectations with his play. He's played so well, in fact, that Nellie has decided to name DeMarcus his starting point guard for tomorrow night's contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which just happens to be the Warriors first home game of the 2008-09 pre-season.
The starting assignment will be special for DeMarcus in multiple ways. For starters, he'll get to play in an NBA game in his home city in front of countless family and friends. Also, if he continues to perform beyond expectation, then he could possibly impress Warriors management enough to secure his spot on the 2008-09 team. Yeah, this homecoming has the potential to be quite eventful for the 22-year-old combo guard.
Following practice today, DeMarcus Nelson addressed the opportunity in front of him, and warriors.com also caught up with Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington. See what the Warriors trio had to say in the video below:
October 10 Practice Interviews
Tickets for tomorrow night's contest against Kevin Durant and the Thunder are still available. But if you can't make it to the game, be sure to tune into KNBR 1050 to hear Tim Roye call the action live. As usual, we here at warriors.com will have a full recap shortly after the conclusion of the contest.
Thursday, October 9 (5:00 p.m.)
Back At Practice
Stephen Jackson's natural leadership was on full display at today's practice. (warriors.com photo)
One day after defeating the Trail Blazers in Portland, the Warriors were back at their practice facility, where it was business as usual. The latter half of practice involved a good deal of scrimmaging, with two referrees on hand to call fouls and other violations. Head Coach Don Nelson also took the liberty of stopping things from time to time when he wanted to get a certain point across...something he is very good at after being a head coach for 30 years.
Stephen Jackson stood out at today's scrimmage for a variety of reasons. First, Coach Nelson continued to experiment with playing him at the point guard spot. Doing this only seems to bring out Jackson's natural leadership qualities even more. Jackson made several nice drives and dishes and was noticeably pumped up during the entire scrimmage. At one point, he drove through three defenders but missed the layup and was very upset with himself. Jackson's intensity and leadership only made his teammates focus and get after it even more, which is why he was a natural choice to be a captain again this year.
Following practice, Head Coach Don Nelson and forward Brandan Wright spoke with members of the media. Watch their interviews below:
October 9 Practice Interviews
The Warriors will have one more day to prepare for Saturday's home game, and the team is also preparing for its trip to China. The team will leave for China on Saturday night immediately following the game. While in China, the team will play two exhibition games against the Milwaukee Bucks, one taking place in Guangzhou and one taking place in Beijing. We will have full coverage of the team's trip, so stay tuned for plenty of behind-the-scenes updates.
Also making the trip to China will be several of the Warrior Girls. The team just finished shooting its annual swimsuit calendar and has been busy preparing for the upcoming season. For a full photo gallery of their recent photo shoot, plus details on their upcoming trip, read Warrior Girl Alexis' most recent blog entry.
Tuesday, October 7 (4:13
Roster Moves Ahead
Before departing for Portland earlier this afternoon for Wednesday night's pre-season game against the Trail Blazers, the Warriors conducted practice at their Downtown Oakland practice facility.
The media was able to watch about the last half-hour of
the workout, which mainly consisted of four-on-four and
five-on-five scrimmaging. The competition on the court was
pretty heated. The players seemed to be treating the practice
like a regular season game, and with only 15 roster spots
to be awarded among 19 people, the players have no choice
but to go all out in these scrimmages.
Head Coach Don Nelson addressed the roster crunch during
his media session following the workout. Though he, his
staff and Chris Mullin and company haven't fully decided
which 15 players will make the Opening Night roster, Nelson
did say that two players will be cut before the team departs
for China on Saturday night.
Find out what else Coach Nelson had to say at practice today, and see what
the always-entertaining Ronny Turiaf thinks about the team,
his performance in Sunday's
pre-season opener and his potential match-up Wednesday
night with Greg Oden by watching the video below:
October 7 Practice Interviews
We'll be back tomorrow night with full post-game coverage from Portland. And remember, you can hear Tim Roye call the action live on KNBR 1050, beginning at 7 p.m.
Monday, October 6 (3:47
A Well-Deserved Day Off
their pre-season action in New Orleans on Sunday evening,
the Warriors were given the day off by Head Coach Don Nelson.
The break couldn't have come at a better time, as the team
had participated in eight-straight days of basketball activity,
including six-consecutive days of double-session practices.
Following this brief one-day holiday, the Warriors will
be back in action at the practice facility tomorrow morning.
Then it will be off to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers
on Wednesday in the second pre-season contest for both clubs.
Greetings from courtside in New Orleans, where the weather today is warm and humid...but, inside, it's nice and time to play a little pre-season basketball. Since today’s game isn’t on TV or the radio, we will be here jotting down a few notes throughout the game, so feel free to check back in from time to time.
Marcus Williams (sprained right ankle) participated in this morning's shootaround and is available to play in tonight's game....the Warriors had a 10:00 a.m. shootaround at New Orleans Arena this morning....the shootaround lasted one hour and focused a little on the team's offensive sets and some of the Hornets' offensive structure as well....on the bus back to the hotel from shootaround, coach Keith Smart informed the team of the rules in regards to which players will ride which bus to the arena prior to every game....as Smart explained, if you are one of the younger members on the team, you are expected to be on the first bus pre-game....that bus typically leaves about 2:15 prior to game-time....the second bus -- the veteran bus -- usually leaves 1:45 minutes prior to game time.....Stephen Jackson also informed the younger players (second or third-year players) that if they are asked to do something by a veteran (such as carry their backpack into practice), they are not allowed to toss that task to an even younger player....
more to come......
UPDATE - 1ST QUARTER
Not a surprise to anyone, the Warriors first shot of the pre-season was a 3-pointer by Al Harrington....the first made field goal of the game was by Stephen Jackson, who tossed in a running 8-footer in the lane....by the way, if you want to read a very nice story on Stephen Jackson, look at today's Contra Costa Times....beat writer Marcus Thompson traveled to his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas in August and spent three days with Captain Jax....the Warriors sprinted out to a 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game....Al Harrington looks good early, hitting a couple of nice jumpers...Andris Biedrins, who last year made 23 of 29 field goals against the Hornets, converted his first two field goals in the first quarter....after 5 1/2 minutes, the Hornets called a timeout as the Warriors have sprinted out to a 17-9 lead, converting 7 of their first 10 field goals....Marcus Williams was the first sub off the bench for the Warriors, checking in for CJ Watson midway through the first quarter....Williams nailed his first field goal attempt with the Warriors, knocking down a 3-pointer with five minutes left in the quarter....not surprisingly, Corey Maggette's first points as a Warrior were at the free throw line with 4:00 minutes left in the first quarter....Ronny Turiaf checked in the game in the first quarter and immediately was matched up against David West in a physical battle down low....Brandan Wright, who was much more assertive offensively during training camp, missed his first two shots after checking in late in the first quarter, but it was good to see him aggressive offensively....the first quarter ended with the Warriors leading 27-23....Stephen Jackson scored seven points to lead Don Nelson's crew.....Nellie utilized three players off the bench in the quarter ---- Turiaf, Wright and Williams....Tyson Chandler sprained his ankle early in the quarter and might not return.....
more to come......
UPDATE - 2ND QUARTER
At the start of the second quarter, the Warriors trotted out Ronny Turiaf, Brandan Wright, Al Harrington, CJ Watson and Kelenna Azubuike.....Turiaf, who has a nice mid-range shot, knocked down his first attempt as a Warrior, drilling an 18-footer from the left elbow....Brandan Wright continues to be very aggressive offensively, getting fouled on one move to the basket (making two free throws) and knocking down a turnaround jumper from 10-feet on a possession shortly thereafter....Marco Belinelli, who had a very nice camp, missed his first three jumpers of the game in the second quarter.....Anthony Randolph checked into the game for the first time with a little over six minutes left in the second quarter, replacing the extremely aggressive Brandan Wright (Wright made only 1 of 4 shot attempts, but was more active offensively than at any point last season)....Nellie has already used 11 players through the first 18 minutes of action....Ronny Turiaf had a nice blocked shot late in the second quarter...Anthony Randolph drilled his first shot, a 17-footer from the left side, cutting the Hornets lead to one (44-43)...Randolph also had two rebounds in his first three minutes of action....Kelenna Azubuike has hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Warriors a three point lead (49-46)....the Warriors' bench has accounted for all 22 points in the second quarter (10 by Azubuike)....Marco Belinelli scored the final four points for Golden State to end the second quarter....Golden State heads into the locker room with a 53-46 halftime lead....The Warriors shot 48.8% in the first half; the Hornets 40.4%....11 Warriors played between 6 and 12 minutes in the first half.
more to come......
UPDATE - 3RD QUARTER
A quick look at the halftime box shows that Ronny Turiaf filled up the stat sheet in the first half, scoring four points, grabbing six rebounds, handing out five assists and blocking one shot....the Warriors began the third quarter with their original starting lineup.....the Warriors started off the third quarter slowly, scoring three points in the first three minutes (Al Harrington 3-pointer)....Marcus Williams replaced CJ Watson very early in the third quarter (less than 3 minutes)....Anthony Randolph entered the game early in the third quarter (about the 10-minute mark)....Randolph is guarding David West, which is great experience for the kid....Randolph has scored four points in the last two minutes with various drives to the basket....as with the summer league, he also looks very aggressive....he's also racked up two steals and three rebounds in only nine minutes....the Hornets lead by one midway through the third quarter (63-62)....Andris Biedrins, who has improved his free throw shooting over the last year, converted 1-of-2 in his first visit to the line this pre-season....the Warriors' offense continues to be out of sync in the third quarter, scoring only 12 points in the first 9-plus minutes....as will be the case many times this season, Corey Maggette has helped end the drought for the Warriors, picking up two fouls on the last two possessions and converting a pair of free throws....David West seems to never miss a shot and has converted every open jumper he's seen in the game tonight, including several in the third quarter...the Warriors ended the third quarter trailing by 5 (82-77)...Golden State was outscored 36-24 in the third stanza....neither team is shooting well from three-point territory, with the Warriors making 5-of-17 and the Hornets 4-of-18.
The Warriors held their final practice of training camp earlier today, and now the team is set for tomorrow's pre-season opener in New Orleans. Head Coach Don Nelson announced today that his starting lineup will include C.J. Watson, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, Al Harrington and Andris Biedrins in tomorrow's match-up, but don't expect any of those players to log heavy minutes. Tomorrow's game will be just as much about seeing what the young guys can do in a game situation as it is being a tune-up for some of the veteran players.
Following practice today, we caught up with Coach Nelson, rookie Rob Kurz and Assistant Coach Keith Smart. Watch their interviews below:
Day 8 Practice Interviews
Soon after today's media session, the Warriors were off
to the airport. They'll stay in New Orleans tonight and
have a pregame shootaround tomorrow morning in preparation
for tomorrow's action, which will tip off at 4 p.m. The
game won't be televised or aired on the radio in the Bay
Area, so be sure to return to Training
Camp Central for a full recap.
Friday, October 3 (4:23 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors.com
Day 7: Harrington Looking Impressive
Al Harrington has had one of the most impressive training camps for the Warriors this season. (warriors.com photo)
The Warriors completed their final double-session of practice on Thursday, so things were back to somewhat normal on Friday with just the one workout. What's still a little bit off, at least compared to a regular season practice, is the amount of players at camp. Golden State currently has 19 players under contract, and with Opening Night fast approaching, Warriors management will soon have some decisions to make regarding who will make the squad. Between now and Opening Night, the Warriors will have to cut four players to bring the roster down to the NBA maximum of 15 players.
One player who is secure in his roster spot, however, is Al Harrington. The 10-year NBA veteran came into camp in peak physical condition and proceeded to have one of the strongest training camps on the team. Head Coach Don Nelson was very complimentary of the versatile forward during his media session on Friday afternoon. Catch what Nellie had to say in the interview and hear from Harrington himself, as well as rookie standout Anthony Randolph, by watching the video below:
The Warriors will have one more practice in Oakland on Saturday before taking off for New Orleans to tip off their pre-season schedule on Sunday. We'll be back tomorrow again with plenty of behind-the-scenes coverage, so stay tuned.
Friday, October 3 (8:59 a.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors PR
Training camp has become quite routine for Don Nelson, who is entering his 30th NBA season as a head coach.
As he walked outside the doors at the Warriors practice facility on Thursday afternoon to conduct his daily media availability session, Don Nelson was about as stressed as he gets this time of the year.
"I can't find a lighter for my cigar," said Nellie. "Can you help me?"
As he concludes his 30th NBA training camp as a head coach, the man has it all figured out. He's seen it all. He's done it all. And he's not about to stress about the long rigors of an 82-game NBA season that is less than four weeks away. No, the 68-year old coach of the Warriors is instead calm, cool and relaxed. If you think he's unconventional as a coach on the sidelines during a game, you should witness his typical day during training camp.
Nellie's post-practice media sessions during camp are unlike any coach in the NBA. On most days, he'll venture outside in the sun (probably reminds him of Maui!), plop down on the side of a small steel table and look for his cigar before the process begins. I often wonder if Rick Carlisle and Reggie Theus are doing the same in Dallas and Sacramento, respectively. Maybe Rick Adelman in Houston, but probably not.
Thursday's session, which included the likes of media-types Janny Hu (San Francisco Chronicle), Geoff Lepper (48minutes.net) and Art Spander (Oakland Tribune), did not include the scent of cigar smoke because the necessary lighting material did not arrive until later. But, that did not mean Nellie was not in mid-cigar, rather, mid-season form. He entertained all questions with his standard humor, belabored the fact that his young team had to travel to China and disrupt their practice schedule and spoke about Stephen Jackson playing a little point guard this season with Monta Ellis' early season absence. He went on for about 15 minutes, but could have continued had the media posed additional questions. Because, as always, Nellie had all the answers.
One of the things that makes Nelson 'Nellie' is the way he handles his sessions with the media.
He's as sharp as a nail when dealing with the media and usually has an underling message in his responses. Earlier this week, Anthony Morrow was the best shooter in camp according to Nellie (message to Marco Belinelli?). Recently, C.J. Watson has been a pleasant surprise and the potential starter at point guard (message to Marcus Williams?). And, Anthony Randolph's best position right now might be power forward (message to Brandan Wright?). You can almost see the messages in the air --- cigar smoke or not.
Prior to his date with the media, Nellie began the final day of two-a-day practices on Thursday morning inside the gym. And, as has been the case during camp, he spent part of the time instructing and part of the time roaming the floor observing. This, too, is a little different from most NBA coaches. The majority of NBA coaches like to put their stamp on the entire practice, making points, halting the action and directing for a full two hours. Sometimes more. Nellie? He entrusts his assistants - especially Keith Smart on the defensive end - to lead a certain part of each practice as he casually walks the baseline and sideline, contemplating what he sees and interrupts only when necessary.
Corey Maggette, who joined the Warriors this season after spending the last eight years with the Los Angeles Clippers, was a little amazed at this phenomenon after the first couple of practices.
"He asked me if Nellie lets his assistants control a part of every practice and if this was normal," recalled Keith Smart. "I told him absolutely. He was pleasantly surprised."
Of course, when you are 53 wins shy of becoming the winningest coach in NBA history - as is Nellie - confidence in your ability and security in your job is not much of a concern. He's not worried if his assistants appear in control. He's not worried if it might look like he's not in charge the entire time. He's not worried if Smart, Sidney Moncrief or Larry Riley get a little credit. The fact of the matter is that everyone knows who is in charge and Nellie's confident demeanor is pretty refreshing.
The level of respect that Nellie commands from his players is quite obvious and, really, quite telling. When he ventures into the locker room prior to practice or before a game to address the team, the players understand that it's time to listen. What he has to say is not only important, but crucial to their success on the court. He's like any other boss in any other business. He's accomplished so much at the highest level that players simply feel compelled to heed his advice and implement his wisdom.
If a player elects not to pay attention to what Nellie says, disregards his orders or simply "doesn't get it" as he frequently notes, they'll most likely go straight to the dog house. And, once again demonstrating his own different style, Nellie is probably the only NBA coach who actually clears out that house and brings his dog -- "Lucky" -- to practice. The little guy is frequently seen patrolling the practice facility and, on occasion, wondering onto the court. Two years ago, the pet was in the team picture and one could only imagine what was going through Nellie's mind at that precise moment. If I were to guess, it would probably be something along the lines of "this little mutt is better than some of our players were in the game last night!"
Yes, that is Head Coach Don Nelson's dog, Lucky, in the 2006-07 Warriors team photo.
Of course, Nellie's just blowing smoke most of the time, whether his cigar is lit or not.
Regardless of any smokescreen, the bottom line is this: Don Nelson is quite unique when it comes to NBA coaches. Unfortunately, there have not been an overwhelming number of in-depth stories written over the years on the good 'ol coach. Last season, however, San Francisco Magazine assigned a young writer, Jaimal Yogis, to follow the Warriors for the final four months of the season. The publication wanted to do a lengthy feature story on the affable coach who boasts 1,280 career victories, eight 50-win seasons and three NBA Coach of the Year awards.
The writer spent a fair amount of time interviewing Nellie (too much if you ask him!), contacted many of his old friends and colleagues around the NBA and spent the rest of the time as a fly on the wall. The story hit the newsstands earlier this week in the October issue of the publication. It makes for good reading and expands on many of the elements that make Nellie, well, Nellie. CLICK HERE to read the story.
Thursday, October 2 (5:02 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors.com
Day 6 Practice Recap
The Warriors were back for their sixth day of practice on Thursday, and it's starting to sink in that Sunday's pre-season opener in New Orleans is just a few days away. Head Coach Don Nelson is readying his troops for in-game situations, but he also knows that this is a young team that needs time to get used to playing together.
Nellie continued his trend of giving certain players the day off, and today it was Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and C.J. Watson who watched practice from the sidelines. Recent addition Dan Dickau practiced with the team and was thrown right into the fire, running the point during some late-practice fast break drills. And yet again, one player who has coaches and players talking is rookie Anthony Randolph. The Warriors first round pick in this year's draft has shown a work ethic and an attitude that has impressed his teammates and coaches throughout training camp. Randolph is always one of the last players to leave the practice floor, and during drills and scrimmaging, he has a motor that never stops.
Following practice today, Nelson, Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette all spoke with the media, and all three gave high praise to the 19-year old Randolph. Watch their interviews below:
Day 6 Practice Interviews
To find out what Randolph himself had to say about this year's training camp, listen to his interview with Bob Fitzgerald from today's Fitz & Brooks show on KNBR.
The addition of Dickau is sure to promote some fierce competition at the point guard position for the rest of the pre-season. Head Coach Don Nelson has previously stated that the starting job is C.J. Watson's to lose, but you can be sure that Marcus Williams and Dickau will be doing everything they can in order to impress the coaches. And don't count out DeMarcus Nelson just yet, as he just might be the best defender out of the bunch.
Following practice today, Nelson addressed the acquisition of Dickau (please note that the video was shot before the signing was official) and also commented on the team's sudden logjam at point guard. Warriors.com also caught up with the always-entertaining Ronny Turiaf, and you can watch those interviews in the video below:
is expected to sign with the Warriors later on today.
Nothing is official yet, but Dan Dickau is expected to sign with the Warriors later today. Per NBA policy, the veteran point guard did not participate in the practice. Instead, he took it all in from the sidelines, hoping to familiarize himself with his soon-to-be new team and surroundings.
When Dickau officially becomes a Warrior - when he signs the contract - he will reunite with college teammate and first-year Warrior Ronny Turiaf. The duo played together during the 2001-02 season (Dickau was a senior and Turiaf a freshman), leading the Bulldogs to a 28-3 record and a West Coast Conference championship.
Turiaf is far from being Dickau's lone connection to the
club, as the 30-year-old point guard teamed up with Stephen
Jackson during the 2003-04 season with the Hawks and he
played alongside Corey Maggette with the Clippers last season.
In fact, this will actually mark Dickau's second stint with
the Warriors. Golden State originally acquired the Gonzaga
product with Dale Davis from Portland in exchange for Nick
Van Exel in 2004. Dickau's first tenure with the Warriors,
however, was short-lived, as a month later he was traded
to Dallas, where he then played for Head Coach Don Nelson. Follow all that?
In other notes from practice, Coach Nelson continued his trend of giving veteran players a day off of camp. Today, it was Andris Biedrins and Corey Maggette's turn to sit out, although both were still present at the practice facility.
That's it for now. We will be back soon with interviews from today's first session of practice and more.
Wednesday, October 1 (9:12 a.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors PR
Introducing Ronny Turiaf
Ronny Turiaf is sure to fit right in with his new teammates. (warriors.com photo)
When the Warriors signed Ronny Turiaf (pronounced "roe-KNEE") in July, they knew exactly what they were getting. Standing at 6-feet-10-inches and 250 pounds, Turiaf adds much-needed depth and beef to the Warriors frontcourt with his rebounding and defense, not to mention his energetic attitude on and off the floor.
The former Los Angeles Laker is excited to be part of the Warriors organization and is serious about contributing to the team.
"I can see myself playing the power forward and center positions," Turiaf said after a recent Training Camp practice. "Wherever I can fit in, that's what I plan on doing. In the past, I've been called upon to play both positions and I'm comfortable doing so. Whatever Coach Nelson asks me to do, I'll do."
This summer wasn't fun and games for the new Warrior. While many players take the summer to go on vacation, Turiaf was all business. Immediately after signing with Golden State, Turiaf was off to Europe to play with the French national team in the EuroBasket 2009 qualifying tournament. Next thing you know, he's back in Oakland participating in training camp.
Despite being with the Warriors for only a short time,
practices have been going smoothly for Turiaf. He enjoys
the run-and-gun style offense and plays well with Golden
State's up-tempo pace. Less than a week into practicing
with his new team, Turiaf already appears to be a natural fit with the Warriors.
When he isn't busy hustling on the court, the former Gonzaga star actively participates in international and community outreach events. It's easy to see why Ronny is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. With his affable personality, he's sure to be a crowd favorite in the Bay Area. He's already a favorite with his fellow teammates with the nickname "Macaroni". And, of course, he scored big points on Media Day, when he played the role of class clown at several stations throughout the event.
Since arriving from Europe, Ronny hasn't had much time to settle down; he is still living in the team hotel and touching base with old friends. In fact, earlier this week, Ronny traveled over to Stanford University to take a photo and visit with the doctor who performed his heart surgery a few years ago. The photo will be used as part of a large feature story on Ronny, which is scheduled to appear this Friday in the San Jose Mercury News (by Mark Emmons).
And, the story won't end there. Ronny will be full of new stories all season long on warriors.com as part of the team's Blog Squad. He has volunteered to be a part of the squad this season and will share his insights, opinions and laughs periodically throughout the course of the year. The first entry will be posted in the near future, and we encourage you to keep tabs on it through April. And for more news on Ronny, be sure to read this warriors.com feature story.
Tuesday, September 30 (5:03 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors.com
Day 4 Practice Recap
Head Coach Don Nelson put his team through their fourth day of practice today, with the night session of the two-a-day still to come. Following practice, Nelson and one of the newest Warriors, Corey Maggette, each spoke with warriors.com and had a lot of interesting things to say about the first few days of camp. Watch their interviews below:
And if you're trying to get caught up, scroll down the page a bit to watch interviews with Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Morrow, Marco Belinelli, Coach Nelson and more from the past few days, plus features and behind-the-scenes news.
Tuesday, September 30 (1:56 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Tim Roye
Tim Roye's Journal - Part 1
The Warriors have been busy practicing twice a day since last Friday.
Training Camp is underway, and with each practice, all the new faces are getting more accustomed to what Head Coach Don Nelson wants and how they are going to play. There are jobs there to be had by a number of new players, and which young players step up may determine what kind of start the Warriors will get off to.
One of those young players is the sharp-shooting Anthony Morrow out of Georgia Tech, who continues to impress with his sweet stroke. I spoke to him on Media Day and he seemed very unassuming, but he is determined to prove that he should have been drafted. He could be the Warriors’ off-season surprise. Check out the interview he did with warriors.com by clicking here.
Monta Ellis was at the Warriors facility on Monday, and he briefly spoke with the press. Obviously, what occurred this summer was a mistake of youth and nobody is happy about it, especially Monta. What has to happen now, though, is that he recovers so the club can see just how much this inury will affect him. You can watch Monta’s interview by clicking here.
Thanks to those of you who have e-mailed me for the work I do for Stanford. It’s a lot of fun, and I am filling in on their radio broadcasts for the 10th consecutive season. It is a great way to get my motor going in preparation for the NBA. My final game is this weekend at Notre Dame.
A lot happened this summer and I will address some issues with each update. Yes, some of you have e-mailed me clamoring for more updates and my new season resolution is to become a serious blog machine this season. As always, you guys can steer the ship with your e-mails, suggestions and your opinions. E-mail me by clicking here.
Kelenna Azubuike --- Could be a breakout year and I am happy the Warriors re-signed him. Marco Belinelli --- Can he improve on his first season and use his considerable offensive talent? Andris Biedrins --- Goose is now a co-captain and no one has more service in a Warriors uniform. Dion Dowell --- A 6’7 guard/forward out of the University of Houston, he averaged 10.9 points per game with 6.8 rebounds; also played at University of Texas. Monta Ellis --- Out for the first part of the year with ankle surgery. Al Harrington --- A lean, mean machine in camp, and Nellie wants more board work. Richard Hendrix --- You wanted more size. This is a legit wide body and he’s pretty happy the Tide rolled over Georgia in football last weekend. Stephen Jackson --- There was no doubt on Media Day who the spokesman of this team will be. Once again, he is Captain Jack Rob Kurz --- A 6’9 forward from Notre Dame signed as a training camp invitee. Corey Maggette --- The new man on the block, he is hoping to bring those frequent trips to the free throw line to Northern California. Anthony Morrow — He might be the team’s best pure shooter, possibly taking that unofficial title from Marco. DeMarcus Nelson --- A Vallejo native who played four years for Coach K at Duke as well as the Warriors Summer League team, he’s hoping to win a spot. Anthony Randolph ---- I think this guy could be the X-factor, and if he can demonstrate the same skills from summer league in this upcoming season, the Warriors will have a gem. Ronny Turiaf --- A bruiser from the Lakers, he will provide much needed depth on the front line. C.J. Watson — Will Monta’s injury also add significant minutes for this second-year pro? Justin Williams --- The former King and Rocket was signed to help balance the roster. Marcus Williams --- Do you want a chance to play and to show what you can do? Well here it is. Brandan Wright --- Spent most of his off-season preparing for a big second season.
I noticed on the training camp blog video that Brandan Wright tends to extend his arms forward away from the body as he is bending down to shoot at the free throw line, before he lifts his arms up to shoot. I also noticed he missed a lot of free throws in summer league. I think he should be coached to lift the ball straight up, not forward first, then up. His free throw percentage will improve. I’m sure the coaches and Brandan know better than me, but I’m still hoping to help!
The Warriors entire coaching staff, including Sidney Moncrief, works with each of the players on various parts of their games.
It's always good to hear from fans who take the time to notice little things. It's a good call and believe me, the Warriors coaching staff (especially Coach Sidney Moncrief last year) analyzes and works on every player’s technique, including Brandan’s.
Thanks for the email.
How many games do you think the Warriors can win this year?
I think if everything goes well and the Warriors stay away from another significant injury,
they can be very competitive and get close to 41 wins. However, that is the optimistic viewpoint. The realistic one is that unlike last year when there were some things you could bank on coming into the year, this year has a great deal of uncertainty. Youth is the x-factor for the season, and if the younger players can play and help the Warriors right away, then it will be a good year. Thanks for the e-mail.
I was wondering how you think the 08-09 Warriors will fare. What are some strengths and weaknesses? I think they have more depth this year, but honestly, are they a better team? I'm all for the off-season signings they made, but will it be enough? Give us your thoughts. GO WARRIORS!
I think the strength of the team is their depth and their youth. They have a lot of young legs and young talent. The weaknesses right now is the loss of Monta Ellis, and what that does to their scoring, as well as the inexperience of the young guns that I just mentioned. I think that since Monta is out, that changes what they can do in the win column for the 2008-09 season. As this team grows together and these young players gain NBA experience, I think that in the long term, they will be much better in 2009, 2010 and so on. This is the year that will be the start of the maturation process of their young core. Thanks for the email. Sorry for the late reply.
The Warriors received a welcome sight when Monta Ellis
visited today's morning practice session. Still recovering
from his August surgery to repair a torn ligament in his
left ankle, the NBA's 2007 Most Improved Player was in good
spirits with his familiar smile as he joked around with
his teammates. Though he hadn't seen many of the players since last April, Monta felt right at home as he visited with his teammates and coaching
Following practice, Monta spoke with members of the local media, and Stephen Jackson also discussed the return of his injured teammate. Check out what they had to say by watching the video below:
Monta Ellis Interview
For a full report on today's practice, including interviews with Coach Don Nelson and Jackson, view our previous entry.
Monday, September 29 (4:03 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors.com
Becoming A Team
Coach Nelson will continue to have his team practice twice a day every day this week.
Although there are several new faces on the Warriors this year, you wouldn't know it by watching them play. The Warriors are only three days into training camp and the team's chemistry and togetherness is already beginning to click in, and that's saying something considering that only six of the 17 players on the floor were with the Warriors during last season's camp.
Much like any training camp headed up by Don Nelson, this year's version has involved plenty of running. Nellie has been pretty satisfied with the level at which his team is in shape over the first few days, but this isn't going to stop him from making them continue to run, run, run. Nellie wants his players to have a certain mentality, and with so many new players, he wants to make sure that mentality is instilled in them from the very start. Today's morning session included more defensive drillwork and fastbreak sets, while tonight's session will again include more scrimmaging.
Following today's first session, Don Nelson and Stephen Jackson spoke with the local media. Watch their interviews below:
Day 3 Practice Interviews
We will be back with more updates soon, so make sure to check back in.
Sunday, September 28 (5:41 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors PR
Andris Biedrins: Growing Up Before Our Eyes
The longest-tenured player on the Warriors, Andris Biedrins was named co-captain of this year's team.
Quick question: Who is the oldest Warrior? Stephen Jackson? Nope. Corey Maggette? No ma’am. Al Harrington? Still wrong.
Read the question again. It’s not “Who is the oldest person on the Warriors team?”
The question is: Who is the oldest Warrior. Stated another way: Who is the oldest in Warrior years?
The answer: Andris Biedrins. Yep, Old Man Andris Biedrins is entering his fifth season with the Golden State Warriors and is the team’s senior member.
Warriors fans have literally watched Biedrins grow up during his time here in the Bay Area. On June 24, 2004 – just 83 days after his 18th birthday – Andris was selected by the Warriors with the 11th overall selection in the NBA Draft. When he left Latvia to join the NBA, despite the fact that he had played professionally in his home country for two years, Biedrins was still in the summer between his Junior and Senior years of high school. He arrived in the Bay Area as a shy, quiet kid living all alone in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language and entering a league surrounded by men that were nearly 20 years his elder (teammate Clifford Robinson was 37 years old when Andris joined the team).
On November 5, 2004, Biedrins made his NBA debut and became the youngest player ever to play in a game for the Warriors, registering one point and one rebound in seven minutes against the Utah Jazz.
At that time, not many people would have imagined that less than four years later, Biedrins would be the “oldest” Warrior. Probably even fewer people thought that less than four years later he would be a team captain, as he and Stephen Jackson will serve as co-captains for the 2008-09 Warriors.
But a lot has happened for Andris since his NBA debut. Off the court, he has matured into a true professional and is wise beyond his years (although he was already wise beyond his years on the day he arrived in the Bay Area as well). Always affable and light-hearted, he has become one of the best interviews in the Warriors locker room.
On the court, his body and his game have matured by leaps and bounds since that skinny, left-handed 18-year-old first stepped on an NBA floor. Since his NBA debut, Biedrins has played 256 regular-season games in a Warriors uniform, almost 50 more than anyone else on the current roster and more than Golden State fan favorites like World B. Free (162), Sarunas Marciulionis (227), Mitch Richmond (234) and Jim Barnett (239).
Over his four-year NBA career, Biedrins has developed into a true double-double threat, averaging 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds this past season and posting 51 double-doubles over the past two years. He has ranked 11th in the NBA in rebounding in each of the last two seasons and pulled down an NBA-high 26 rebounds in a game against the Knicks in 2007-08 – marking the most rebounds by a Warriors player since Larry Smith grabbed 31 vs. Denver in 1981.
A model of efficiency, Biedrins has improved his game each year thanks to plenty of hard work.
And his shooting efficiency…off the charts.
--In 2005-06, he shot 63.8% (118-185 FG) from the field, which was tops among all NBA players that season who attempted at least 150 field goals and was the sixth-best mark in NBA history among all players that have ever attempted 150 shots in a season.
--In 2006-07, he shot 59.9% (348-581 FG) from the field, which was third-best in the NBA that season and is the third-best single-season performance by a Warrior since the team moved to the West Coast.
--In 2007-08, he led the NBA by shooting 62.6% (340-543 FG) from the field, which is the second-best single-season performance by a Warrior since the team moved West – trailing only Chris Gatling’s 63.3% in 1994-95.
--Entering the 2008-09 season, he owns a career shooting percentage of 61.4% (851-1387 FG), which is the top mark in FRANCHISE history among all players that have attempted at least 1,000 field goals (he is the only player over 60.0%).
So Young Andris is now all grown up. And entering his first training camp as the old man in the locker room and team captain, he couldn’t be more ready.
Last month, Andris played for the Latvian National Team in a qualifying tournament for EuroBasket 2009, leading his squad to a 4-2 record that landed them a spot in next summer’s European Championship in Poland. As team-leader and go-to man for the Latvians, Andris did not disappoint, averaging 22.3 points and 13.7 rebounds per contest, while shooting 65.3% from the field. Among tournament leaders, he ranked 3rd in scoring (behind Tony Parker and Loul Deng), 1st in rebounding, 1st in field goal percentage and 1st in double-doubles (6).
Just as impressive was the way that Andris represented himself during the tournament, as he filled the dual role of being Latvia’s only NBA star and “just one of the guys” at the same time. Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart traveled to Latvia to help coach the team for the first portion of the tournament, and came away very impressed with how Biedrins, fresh off signing a multi-million dollar contract extension, fit in with all of his teammates and served as a team leader.
His experiences this summer on the National Team (which it should be noted is just as important to him as playing for Team USA was to any of our Olympians) should help Biedrins tremendously both on and off the court during the upcoming NBA campaign. He was the Latvian’s go-to guy on the court, which forced him to expand his offensive game. He was also served as the team’s vocal and emotional leader, which forced him into a different role than he has been used to during his NBA career.
He has come so far in such a short time, but as the Warriors longest tenured player and team captain, it will be fun for Warriors fans to watch the continued growth of Old Man Andris Biedrins. Oh yeah, did we forget to mention the fact that he’s only 22 years old and will not turn 23 until the last few weeks of the season? Indeed, the growth will certainly continue.
To listen to what Andris had to say following today's practice, along with comments from Head Coach Don Nelson and guard Marco Belinelli, watch the video below.
Day 2 Practice Interviews
Read more about Andris in Janny Hu’s article from Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle by clicking here.
And to watch a behind-the-scenes video featuring Andris on Media Day, view the blog entry below.
Sunday, September 28 (5:10 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors.com
Media Day Bonus: Andris Biedrins Behind The Scenes
During this year's Media Day, Warriors center Andris Biedrins agreed to wear a mic and let our camera crew follow him around as he went from station to station. Entering his fifth year with the team, Andris is known for his sense of humor and good-natured attitude.
The full-length feature will air on TV soon, but you can check out a snippet of it below:
Andris Biedrins Behind The Scenes At Media Day
For a full recap of Media Day, including a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, click here.
Sunday, September 28 (10:37 a.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: Warriors PR
Undrafted Rookie Out To Prove He Belongs
After going undrafted, Anthony Morrow was signed by the Warriors after he impressed the team with his play during summer league.
Well, it took Coach Nelson about three hours to start the hype machine as the Warriors tipped off their 2008 training camp on Saturday.
“He’s really impressive,” said Nellie when asked about training camp invitee Anthony Morrow. “I’m glad we signed him. I think he’s going to be a good player some day. You wonder how a guy like that slipped through the draft.”
Well coach, is he the best shooter on the team? “The best that I’ve seen. Maybe the best on a lot of teams.”
Of course, Morrow’s accuracy behind the 3-point line during the Las Vegas and Salt Lake Summer Leagues would make it relatively simple to solicit such a glowing opinion. The 6’5” guard converted 17-of-23 treys for the Warriors’ two Summer League squads, a mind-boggling 74%. Some players would like to shoot 74% from the free throw line; this kid did it from downtown. And, it’s all the more impressive when you consider that he had to make the adjustment from the college 3-point line to the NBA 3-point line during the Summer League (a big difference).
Following the summer league, the Warriors returned to Oakland and several players – including Morrow – were invited to work out regularly at the team’s practice facility. As legend would have it, Morrow’s red hot stroke from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City simply moved further West to the Bay Area. Assistant Coach Keith Smart, who worked with the former Georgia Tech star in Oakland during August and September, was amazed at his long-standing accuracy.
“We kept waiting for him to hit a cold spell,” said Smart. “But it never came.”
Morrow, who was not selected in the 2008 NBA Draft following a four year career at Georgia Tech, was considered one of college basketball’s best shooters last season. He shot close to 45% from 3-point territory (.448) and ranked 14th in the NCAA in that category overall in 2007-08. Additionally, he shot 85.9% from the charity stripe last season and ended his tenure with the Yellowjackets ranked first in school history in free throw percentage (.867). Despite compiling relatively modest numbers at Georgia Tech (averaged 14.3 ppg last season), Morrow’s ability to shoot the basketball has never been questioned. He can shoot it with range, but also has the skills to put the ball on the floor and create space between himself and his defender for a mid-range jumper. In essence, he has a game that could translate very well to the NBA, maybe more so than college.
Following his first official NBA practice on Saturday, Morrow spoke with reporters at the Warriors practice facility. Watch his interview below:
Of course, we’re not sure exactly how his transition to a bigger, faster and stronger league will ultimately unfold. However, the youngster who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday certainly has an opportunity to utilize his unique shooting skills in Nellie’s free flowing offense as training camp and the pre-season continue. The Warriors, as you recall, were stripped of some of their 3-piont shooting this summer with the departure of Mickael Pietrus, Baron Davis and Matt Barnes. From the initial looks of things, there might be a need to replace that weaponry and the slender kid from Charlotte, North Carolina would figure to be a perfect fit.
Morrow is looking to become the next unheralded Warriors free agent signee to establish himself as a solid NBA player.
Interestingly enough, Morrow might signal the latest in the long line of “perfect fits” to join the Warriors in recent years. Golden State has had very good luck – and an astute eye – when plucking players off the waiver/undrafted/unwanted wire in the 21st century. As you might recall, the Warriors have signed no less than four players in the last five or six years who were low-radar free agents that could not find a job in the NBA. Each of those players – Earl Boykins, Brian Cardinal, Matt Barnes and Kelenna Azubuike – seized the great opportunity they were provided in the Bay Area and parlayed it into a very productive year or two stint with Golden State and a payday at the end of the road.
Boykins, who was signed in late November of 2002 - three weeks into the season – turned his unemployed status into a major role with Golden State. The 5’5” dynamo appeared in 68 games with the Warriors during the remainder of the 2002-03 season, averaging a career-high 8.8 points per game. He became an instant fan favorite due to his small stature, big heart and bigger shots.
Cardinal, who played sparingly (total of 28 games) in his first three NBA season with Detroit and Washington, signed with the Warriors as a training camp invitee prior to the 2003-04 season. He appeared in a career-high 76 games – including 11 as a starter – that season and enjoyed his most productive NBA season to date (averaged a career-high 9.6 points per game). At the end of the season, the Memphis Grizzlies signed him to a five year contract in excess of $30 million.
Barnes joined the Warriors a few days prior to the start of training camp in 2006. The Sacramento native had previously bounced around the NBA with four other teams over a four-year period. Upon his arrival in Oakland, he started 23 games in 2006-07 (after starting 23 total games during his first four years in the NBA) and averaged a career-high 9.8 points per game.
Azubuike, who signed a long-term contract with the Warriors this summer, was not drafted after his four-year stint at the University of Kentucky in 2005. He spent the 2005-06 season and the beginning of the 2006-07 season with the Ft. Worth Flyers in the D-League, where he was leading the league in scoring (26.0 ppg) prior to inking a 10-day contract with Golden State on January 2, 2007. Less than three weeks after signing with the Warriors and making his NBA debut, he scored 28 points against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Morrow of this story (pun intended)? You never know what might happen when the Golden State Warriors sign a free agent in need of both a job and an opportunity. But, if recent history is any indication, something good will transpire.
To watch Coach Nelson's interview from Saturday, and for photos and a complete recap of the team's first practice, see the entry below.
The Warriors held their first official practice of the 2008-09 season this morning at their Downtown Oakland practice facility, and with 17 players in camp, there was a bevy of activity on the floor at all times. The first session of this year's training camp began with a team meeting, followed by stretching and several warm-up drills. Once that was complete, it was down to business, with Head Coach Don Nelson instructing his team through a variety of defensive drills and full court fast break sets. And on the first day of practice, one thing that really stood out was the intensity of the workout. Today's session was the first of two for the team today. For the next several days they will be put through two-a-day practices, with the morning session filled mostly with drillwork and the night session typically filled with more intense scrimmaging. Despite knowing that there was still another intense practice tonight, the players went all out in the drills and were flying up and down the court in typical Nellie-ball fashion.
For a full photo gallery from today's first practice, have a look at the pictures below:
Another major theme from today's practice was the fact that there are many new faces in this year's camp. In fact, of the 17 players participating in today's practice, only six were with the team during last year's camp in Hawaii -- Andris Biedrins, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Kelenna Azubuike, Brandan Wright and Marco Belinelli. One of the many new faces in camp was center Justin Williams, whom the Warriors signed this morning as a training camp invitee.
With 17 players fighting for 14 roster spots, the intensity of the practice is well understood. But another reason was the example set by Warriors co-captains Andris Biedrins and Stephen Jackson. Coach Nelson announced this morning that Biedrins would join Jackson as a co-captain for the first time in his career. And although he's just 22 years old, Biedrins is entering his fifth NBA season and is well respected among his teammates. Jackson, meanwhile, returns to the captaincy for the second year in a row. To listen to what he had to say about his role as a captain, and to see an interview with Coach Nelson, check out our video coverage from today's practice below:
DAY 1 PRACTICE INTERVIEWS
We will be back with much more in the coming days, so stay tuned for exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage right here on warriors.com. For a recap and photos from yesterday's Media Day, check out our post below.
Earlier today, the Warriors took part in Media Day. The annual event not only marks the official start of training camp, it gives media members their first access to the players for the upcoming season. It also gives Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, KNBR and other media outlets the ability to film and record promotional spots for the upcoming season. And from the team's perspective, Media Day serves as the time to film various pieces that will be used throughout the season on TV and at ORACLE Arena. Lastly, the players all pose for a wide variety of photos - from posed portraits to NBA headshots to promotional pictures.
One of the many highlights of Media Day was Andris Biedrins. The 6-foot-11 center, who just recently returned from Europe after leading his Latvian national team to a 4-2 record in EuroBasket 2009 qualifying, was mic’d up and had a film crew following him for the entire duration of Media Day. Andris provided constant entertainment throughout the day, but his refusal to take part in one requested pose during a photo shoot had onlookers busting up with laughter.
Throughout Media Day, players are requested to pose for several photos for many different promotions throughout the season. One such shot called for Andris to wear a Santa Claus hat. But as we all know, Andris takes great pride in the appearance of his spikey hair. Not wanting to mess up the hairdo, Andris passed on the holiday-themed promotion shoot and saved that for his last appearance of the day.
Other highlights included Ronny Turiaf being incredbily energetic and hilarious at every station (just wait until you see some of his in-arena videos this year), the rookies being asked to read cue cards for perhaps the first time and Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington filming a music-related spot that turned in to a full-on karaoke and dance session.
Get a look at exactly what went down on Media Day by viewing the photo galleries below:
While today was a lot of fun for everyone involved, the players and coaching staff know that now it's time to get down to business. The Warriors will hold their first of seven "double-day practices" tomorrow, and we will be there with full coverage and as much exclusive information as we can get. Stay tuned for updates and much, much more.
Thursday, September 25 (7:17 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: warriors.com
Mullin & Nelson Address The Media Prior To Tomorrow's Official Start To Training Camp
Belinelli and Anthony Randolph have prepared for training
camp with unofficial scrimmages at the Warriors Practice
Facility. (warriors.com photo)
With the coming of a new season comes a wide array of possibilities. Will the Warriors make the playoffs in 2009? Will the team send a player to the All-Star Game? Will Warriors fans continue to make ORACLE Arena one of the loudest venues in all of professional sports?
Those are all definite possibilities at the very least,
but before any of those questions can truthfully be answered,
the Warriors, and every other NBA team for that matter,
must go through training camp. And luckily for us, the Warriors
will get a bit of a head start on the week-long camp this
season. Because the Warriors will lose a few days of practice
due to their participation
in next month's China Games, the Warriors, and a few
other NBA teams traveling overseas this offseason, will
get to open camp two days before those NBA teams that are
staying stateside this preseason.
Before the Warriors officially kick off training camp tomorrow, Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin and Head Coach Don Nelson met with several members of the media for separate press conferences. To see what each of them had to say about the upcoming season, watch the videos below:
CHRIS MULLIN PRESS CONFERENCE
DON NELSON PRESS CONFERENCE
We'll be back soon with more interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage,
as tomorrow is Media Day. As discussed in a previous Blog
Squad entry, Media Day allows local and national media members
to meet with the players at the Warriors Practice Facility.
There will also be a team-wide photo shoot, as well as players
recording promotional pieces for broadcasters for the upcoming
Biedrins has been known to have a good time at past
Media Days. (warriors.com photo)
Although the players definitely keep busy by going to all of their required stations on Media Day, they usually find some time for some good old-fashioned light-hearted fun during the annual event. They can be seen joking around with one another and maybe even pulling a prank on one of the rookies.
Be sure to come back soon, as we'll be back tomorrow with full coverage and behind-the-scenes access of Media Day.
After Media Day wraps up Friday afternoon, the Warriors will conduct their first official practice of the 2008-09 season on Saturday in the first of seven two-a-day workouts in seven days. Several Warriors, however, have already been hard at work for quite some time now in preparation of training camp.
Those preparations are coming to an end, but our pre-season coverage is just
beginning so keep returning to Warriors
Training Camp Central for constant updates on the team.
Thursday, September 25 (2:19 p.m.)
SUBMITTED BY: warriors.com
Welcome To The Training Camp Blog
Sports fans everywhere will attest to the fact that one of the most exciting times of the year is right before your team begins its next season. Everyone weighs in with his or her own opinions, expectations and predictions --- media members, co-workers, friends, even strangers that may be wearing the same team's gear.
Warriors fans are no different, as the start of training camp tends to generate quite a buzz in the Bay Area. And Warriors fans can rest assured that warriors.com will be there every step of the way during this year's Training Camp and pre-season with complete behind-the-scenes coverage of the team. From tomorrow's Media Day to "double day practices" here in Oakland to the team's trip to China in October, warriors.com will provide comprehensive coverage from a variety of angles throughout the next month.
So stay tuned to Training Camp Central for blog updates, photo galleries, audio clips, videos, feature stories, news and much more.
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