(Ezra Shaw/NBAE/Getty Images)
Hey, That's Different: Changes Aplenty for 2017-18
by Brian Witt
A Warriors fan's guide to all the changes you'll encounter throughout the 2017-18 season.
Imagine that in the euphoria of celebrating the Warriors second NBA Championship in three years, you expended so much energy that you fell into a four-month nap. Then, as if by some mental alarm set by years of Dub Nation fandom, you awoke on the eve of the 2017-18 season, rested and ready to cheer the team on through another 82-game regular season journey (and hopefully beyond). However, throughout the new season, you notice that certain things have changed since the last time you watched the Dubs take the court in a game that actually counted. Whether at Oracle Arena or watching on television, your game experience has been altered. Sometimes the team doesn’t look like they used to, or their games are starting at unusual hours. When in arena, you hear and see things that weren’t there before. The changes are enough to make you wonder if you’re actually awake or still dreaming.
Well, Warriors fans, I assure you this is in fact real life.
First things first, the Warriors are still the Warriors. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still two of the greatest shooters that have ever lived. Draymond Green is still the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Kevin Durant is still, in a word, awesome.
But just like for those four aforementioned players, the offseason is not a time to rest on your laurels, even if you did win the Championship. It’s a time to improve yourself, round out your game and evolve based on what you have learned through experience. That is precisely what the NBA and the Warriors organization have done over the last several months, which is the reason behind why the product you see, hear and interact with on the court this season will look, sound and behave differently than ever before. Here, then, is a guide to explain all the changes you might encounter while watching your favorite team this year:
One of the league’s main priorities this offseason was addressing the concerns of teams and fans alike as they pertained to the regular season schedule. Their solution was one that should appease both parties involved.
First off, the days of playing four games in five nights are a thing of the past. The regular season schedule itself has been elongated by eight days, which is the reason why Golden State is opening the season a little bit earlier than normal. As a result of both of these changes, the number of back-to-back sets that a team will play has been decreased. For instance, the Warriors will play 14 back-to-backs this upcoming season, down from 17 last year. With fewer back-to-backs and more time in between games, teams should accumulate more rest throughout the season, thereby decreasing the likelihood of missed games due to injuries and fatigue.
For Warriors fans specifically, another noteworthy change regarding the schedule is that all weekend home games at Oracle Arena this season will start at 5:30 p.m. Now you can cheer the Dubs on at Oracle on a Sunday and still get a good night’s sleep before inevitably getting a case of the Mondays the following morning.
The schedule of each individual game has been slightly altered as well in an effort to improve the overall game flow. Starting this season, the maximum number of timeouts in a regulation game will drop from 18 to 14. Also, whereas last year teams could call three timeouts in the final two minutes of a game, they’re now limited to just two timeouts in the final three minutes of each contest. So, now when a game is coming down to the final minutes, it won’t be bogged down by a bunch of excitement-draining pauses.
Speaking of timeouts, the league also homogenized them; that is to say, all timeouts will now be 75 seconds in length, rather than “full” timeouts that lasted 100 seconds and so-called “20-second” timeouts that really ran 60 seconds. A game with fewer and shorter breaks should provide for longer uninterrupted stretches of free-flowing action, which should make for a more fun and exciting viewing experience.
If you’re heading to a Warriors game at Oracle Arena this season, you’ll notice increased security measures that are the equivalent of what you may have encountered at a previous playoff game. The security checkpoints have been extended to the perimeter of the arena to help streamline the process and allow for a more seamless ticket entry when fans get to the doors.
Safer + Faster = Better
You have a smartphone. Your mom has a smartphone. Your grandmother has a smartphone. Heck, your grandmother’s dog might have one, too. Moving forward, that’s all you and yours will need to enter a game at Oracle Arena.
Starting this season, the Warriors have transitioned to mobile ticketing, meaning that all game tickets and parking passes can be managed from your smartphone. This change was made for two main reasons. First, it’s a lot more convenient, as you’ll no longer have to worry about bringing hardcopy tickets with you. Second, and perhaps most importantly, this change was made for security purposes. By eliminating the use of PDFs, the switch to mobile ticketing should go a long way towards cutting down on fraud. As always, warriors.com will remain the safest and most convenient place for fans to access all levels of tickets throughout the regular season and playoffs. And remember, tickets are always available on warriors.com, even for ‘sold out’ games.
View the video above or click here for more information about mobile ticketing.
Once you use your mobile tickets to get inside Oracle Arena, you’ll notice several new options available to you, regardless of where your seats may be located. For instance, fans sitting in the upper bowl can make their way to the area just outside of Section 231 to access the brand new EA Sports NBA Live ’18 Gaming Lounge.
Fans sitting in the lower bowl will notice a wide variety of new bars and restaurants for their enjoyment. Of particular note here are the Jameson Caskmates bar located outside Section 110 and the Sierra Nevada Draught House outside of Section 125. Want a cocktail? Head to 110. Craft beer enthusiast? 125 is the place to be.
Moving down to the event level, what was previously the City National Club has been completely renovated from the ground up to become the new J.P. Morgan Club, which is accessible to those in courtside seating.
These are just a few highlights, as more additions will pop up throughout the season.
After you’ve gotten your beer and/or cocktail, make your way back to your seat where you’ll encounter the sound of a new modernized JBL audio system. Now you’ll be able to hear the sounds on the court, the video board and around the arena better than ever before.
From hearing, we move to another important experiential sense – that of sight. This season, the Warriors are going to look different, too.
The 2017-18 season marks the first year of the NBA’s apparel partnership with Nike, and the uniform structures for each team have been changed as a result. In addition to new materials and functional improvements, each NBA team will have more uniform options available to them for each individual game.
Coinciding with the introduction of the new uniforms, the NBA is eliminating its “Home” and “Road” uniform designations. Beginning this season, home teams will now pick which of their uniforms will be worn at all home games, and visiting teams will choose a contrasting uniform within their own assortment. Because of this change, Nike and the NBA worked together to create four core uniforms for each team, classified as “editions,” which draw from the rich heritage of the NBA and its respective franchises.
The first two editions of the NBA uniforms are the Association and Icon editions. For the Warriors, those refer to what were previously their home white (Association) and road blue (Icon) uniforms. The two remaining core uniforms are inspired by the mindset of the NBA athlete and the communities that support their teams through thick and thin. One of those uniforms – ‘The Town’ – has already been revealed. The other will be revealed soon.
Every uniform the Warriors wear this season will feature the Rakuten badge, located on the front left opposite the Nike Logo. And if you want to purchase the exact same uniform the players wear, the only place to do so is at the Warriors Team Store. For store locations, click here.