While franchise player Monta Ellis has plenty of time to reflect on his $3 million moped joyride, Warriors fans are desperate to see if anyone can seize the opportunity. Saturday night at the Oracle it didn't take long for two newcomers to distinguish themselves on the court.
The second year player from Italy, Marco Belinelli, started the game by connecting from long range on the team's first two possessions. He finished the game playing over 45 minutes and scoring 22 with six assists and two steals, all while playing impressive defense on the 6'9" Rookie of the Year, Kevin Durant.
Has this former rising star of the European League finally shown NBA fans what kind of basketball resides within his 6'5" frame?
Of course, Warriors fans were fooled before. When he arrived in his rookie season, Marco scored 30 points in his first summer league game in Las Vegas, shooting the lights out.
He never shone as brightly until last night. Here's hoping that his reported hard work on defense and intangibles give him and his coach the confidence to let him fire away and take over games.
One undrafted rookie, who just happens to also be a hometown hero, before playing four seasons at Duke also surprised many critics with a show-stopping preseason performance. DeMarcus Nelson collected 18 points, seven assists, four steals, and four rebounds in 33 minutes in his NBA preseason debut.
Everyone knows this 6'4" ACC defensive player of the year, with a huge 6'10" wingspan, can disrupt passing angles. Though, he has been an offensive nightmare the entire training camp, unable to hit open shots.
They surprised the starters of the lowly OKC Thunder. Will they be able to build on this success against real competition in the regular season? Will Nelson even make the team?
I think last night's performance won Nelson a spot because Dickau just doesn't have the upside on defense. And, if you're looking for a complement to Ellis, you're going to need a backcourt player who can muscle up and contain an opposing point guard.
For the first time in the post-Baron era, we can see a glimmer of playmaking. Definitely, we see a team that can run a deep, 10-man rotation full of fresh, eager bodies to play both ends of the court.
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