Golden State won its fourth pre-season win behind a starless line-up, competing against three of the Lakers of the Superstars who made their debut together. At the Staples Center, six Warriors scored in double figures to win 111-99.
More importantly, coach Steve Kerr and staff took a closer look at the players fighting for the rotating minutes and roster spot.
Avery Bradley was named a member of the 2020 NBA Champions Lakers before Tuesday’s game. But it was about everyone fighting for a backup spot on Golden State Back Court who took advantage of Curry and Green’s absence.
Damien Lee started from Curry’s place and was one of the active players all night. He dropped 16 points and captured nine boards. After the third single-handed slam dunk of the first half, everyone on the field felt the presence of Gary Patton II.
Patton is known for his defense like Bradley, but he showed an impressive off-ball movement that resulted in one of his three slims on the bounce feed from Bejelica after cutting the paint. He scored 12 points in his first game of the first season after returning from surgery on his hernia.
“I like to reward Damon. He’s a great camper,” Kerr said before Tuesday’s game. “He’s one of the guys on our team that we value. He is such a supporter. Such a rock player. He is ready every night whether I play him for 20 minutes or I will not play him at all.
Jordan Poole led all scorers for the third time in four pre-season games with 18 points. Otto Porter Jr. paired Lee with 16 points, and Andrew Wiggins paired Payton with 12.
The center of attention of Musa Modi.
Teammates described first-round pick Musa Modi as a calm boy. But he is quickly learning to embrace the spotlight.
Under the bright lights of the Staples Center, Moody saw his pre-season play time – and his scariest matchup. Modi played defensively against Russell Westbrook and even defamed Anthony Davis, turning a jam basket into the wrong shots. On offense, Modi lost all six attempts on the field. His best moment came when he fed Nemja Bjelica a bounce pass from a corner trap, and Bjelica delivered him home at 2.
Moody’s has proved to be a serious threat from outside the arc (5 for 9 in four pre-season games since Tuesday 0-2), but it’s the unseen things that have affected him the most. He was most notable against the Lakers in Golden State’s first pre-season match, when he helped Dwight Howard box out.
Dremond Green said he had an “oh, shoot” moment when he checked Moody 6-9 Howard in the paint. (Except Green didn’t say, “Shoot.” “You can guess.)
“That kind of thing makes you realize who he is,” Green said before Tuesday’s game.
Kerr said that in order to break the vicious circle, it only needs to understand the Golden State’s defense concepts.
“It’s clear he’s a guy who is beyond his years in terms of his awareness, his sense of the game, his confidence,” Kerr said ahead of Tuesday’s game. “He’s making his case to make room in circulation.”
It’s just pre-season, but a couple of encouraging signs for the Warriors. At the top of the list, he was dealt a blow with a full-strength Lakers squad without LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis without his top two players.
But it is also worth noting that Golden State has made 11 of its 49 attempts with 3 (22.4), the worst pre-season rate.
It’s no secret that the Warriors plan to add 3 points this season. But they can’t rely on the long ball.
“It’s less about the shots and more about the goods,” Kerr said. Golden State had another positive turnover difference, 20-12, and matched LA in second chance points. Even when the ball was not falling deep, the Warriors managed to make other shots.