Warriors fans got their first glimpse of Andre Iguodala.
Whether they are overhyped or the praise is just deserved, the Golden State Warriors have finally displayed their talent in Week 1 of the NBA preseason. A few alley-oops and three-balls have stood out in highlights, but average play has dominated the first frame.
The biggest questions going into camp were on the back-end of the roster. Would Seth Curry make the final roster and what impact, if any, would the European players have?
However, crafty coach Mark Jackson raised a new question: Is Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes going to be the new sixth man? Since it is still early in preseason, fans will have to wait to get a definitive answer.
Andre Iguodala is playing up to his expectations and is creating some exciting moments with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Andrew Bogut is back to full health, and he already looks like he will be a major factor on this year’s Dubs team.
With that being said, let’s take a look at who the winners and losers are from the first week of preseason.
Marreese Speights has made an early impression.
Marreese Speights has wasted little time to show that he can fill the void left by Carl Landry. He has been physical, taken his perimeter shots and dominated around the rim by rebounding and finishing.
Against the Sacramento Kings in the preseason home opener, Speights even ran the point on a fast break and set up Kent Bazemore, who tossed it to Andre Iguodala for the alley-oop. In the game versus the Utah Jazz, Speights put up 13 points and six boards.
His two previous efforts yielded six points, three rebounds and three blocks versus the Kings and four points and five rebounds in the opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dewayne Dedmon has a unique story and has impressed coach Mark Jackson during training camp. He came out a little bit awestruck in his first NBA preseason game, but Coach Jackson encouraged him after the game.
He also received some guidance and help from assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, who told him how to prepare when going up against Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal. He immediately improved in the drill and showed his potential.
In game action, Dedmon improved upon his two point and two rebound effort versus the Los Angeles Lakers to six points, five rebounds and one block against the Sacramento Kings and two points, four rebounds and two blocked shots versus the Utah Jazz.
With the team deciding to waive point guard Cameron Jones, Dedmon looks to be in an even better position to keep one of the remaining roster spots.
Klay Thompson put most of our fears to rest with a dominant first week of preseason. He showed that he improved one of his biggest weaknesses by not only making moves to the basket, but finishing with authority.
He was given bench duty for the first two games, to most people’s surprise, as Mark Jackson wanted to experiment with lineups and see how Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala would coexist. Thompson was relaxed coming off the bench and was the star in at least one of the first two games.
He is making an effort to drive to the rim to create opportunities. He just needs to find more trips to the free-throw line, where he finished last at the shooting guard position last season in attempts per game.
Andre Iguodala needs to improve at the line.
This is not alarming, but he needs to fix this problem sooner rather than later. Iguodala’s free-throw percentage numbers have dropped considerably since the 2007-08 season, and he finished last season at only 57.4 percent.
Since he is a playmaker and a slasher, Iguodala will get at least three or four attempts per game, and if he can contribute one more attempt than normal, that could be the difference between winning and losing.
Seth Curry has yet to make his impact.
Seth Curry has been the feel-good story of camp, joining his superstar brother on the same NBA team. In limited quantities, the two were looking to share time in the same backcourt.
However, the younger Curry is getting minuscule minutes and seldom opportunities to create at the NBA level. He will really have to put his time in during practice to make any favorable impressions on the coaching staff.
It is going to be a difficult road for Seth to make the squad among a deep roster that has NBA or international experience. His best chance might be to gut it out with the D-League team in Santa Cruz in order to get the needed repetitions.
Harrison Barnes is on the bench with an inflamed foot.
Harrison Barnes didn’t suffer a setback similar to the injury that occurred against the San Antonio Spurs in last season’s playoffs, but it was still an injury. He sat down after only six minutes against the Sacramento Kings and did not play at all against the Utah Jazz.
It is better to rest the foot now and have it ready to go for the regular season than play now and risk future problems when the Warriors really need his services.
The only benefit is that the Warriors have Andre Iguodala to cover the small forward position in case Barnes is out for an extended period of time.