The Warriors‘ hopes to get back into title contention start with Stephen Curry, and coach Steve Kerr was thrilled to see the former MVP back on the court Saturday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Curry is fully recovered from the broken left hand that limited him to five games last season. He shot just 3-of-10 from the field, but having him back in the lineup was a big deal for Kerr.
“It’s always just great to see him out on the floor,” Kerr said. “And I think he looks really good physically, that’s the main thing. He worked so hard in the offseason and he’s in great shape. And now it’s just a matter of getting his timing and his rhythm down, but he’s definitely a sight for sore eyes.”
Curry is surrounded by a much different roster than during the five-year stretch when Golden State was on top of the league. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre are major additions over the past year, and the team will eventually incorporate rookie center James Wiseman, who isn’t expected to play during the preseason.
“There’s nobody like him in the NBA,” Kerr said of Curry. “Nobody who can play on and off the ball at that level and who creates that kind of havoc. And so I think with most players who come in, they’re not used to the second half of the possession. They’re sort of used to whatever the pattern is in the beginning. But as soon as maybe Steph gives up the ball, that’s when the action really starts the way we play. And that’s the tricky part for guys to figure out.”
There’s more Warriors news this morning:
- Golden State projects to have a much better bench than it did a year ago, when the team’s reserve unit was among the NBA’s worst, observes Anthony Slater of the Athletic. The addition of Kent Bazemore and Brad Wanamaker have made the Warriors a deeper team, and Eric Paschall will join them once Draymond Green returns to the starting lineup. Bazemore provides a veteran presence and the versatility to contribute in multiple ways. “Baze is kind of a wild card,” Kerr said. “He can make three or four plays in a row — a bucket, a steal, knock down a 3. He’s a streaky player.”
- The trade for Oubre gives the Warriors a top defender who can take over Klay Thompson‘s responsibilities on the perimeter, Slater notes in the same piece. Kerr said he believes Golden State can become an excellent defensive team once Green and Wiseman return.
- Mychal Mulder is in camp on a non-guaranteed contract, but his long-distance shooting may help him win a roster spot, Slater adds. He hit three important three-pointers in the fourth quarter Saturday to help the Warriors claim a close victory.