Golden State Warriors basketball is back. Nearly five months since they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second-round of the 2023 playoffs, the teams meet again to open their preseason at Chase Center on Saturday evening.
With both teams holding championship-aspirations this season, the matchup will provide an early evaluation of where they’re at in their preparation.
The Golden State Warriors will be looking to making a strong start to their preseason when they host their pacific rivals on Saturday.
It will be a slightly different Warrior team to the one that lost to the Lakers in May, with only seven players — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and Gary Payton II — remaining from last season’s playoff roster.
Veteran forward Draymond Green also remains but will miss the preseason opener as he recovers from an ankle injury that’s expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks. Free agent signing Cory Joseph is also out with a back injury, while Rodney McGruder, who’s fighting for the 14th roster spot on a training camp deal, will miss due to being in concussion protocols, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.
Still, head coach Steve Kerr will have 18 players available at his disposal. He plans to utilize all of them, stating on Friday that “every player in uniform will be out on the floor.” The debut of Chris Paul will be the headline act for Golden State, with many across the league awaiting to see how the veteran point-guard fits with his new team.
Kerr already confirmed the starting lineup earlier in the week, revealing Paul would start alongside Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Looney. The Warriors will also unveil recent draftees Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, both of whom showed promising signs at times in Summer League. They may have to wait until the second-half for opportunity, so too some on training camp deals battling for the 14th spot.
Taking too much from preseason, particularly the very first game, can be fraught with danger. However, there’s certain elements that may prove valuable in early analysis of the Warriors’ championship credentials. Let’s have a look at three aspects to watch for in the preseason opener against the Lakers: