Top 5 takeaways from Warriors training camp
Warriors (players) exit camp unscathed
The Warriors wrapped up their five-day training camp on Saturday and emerged without notable damage, at least to their roster. Steve Kerr taking an indefinite leave of absence was the only kink in the process. The coach needs time to devote himself to healing after two offseason surgeries on his back. Here are five takeaways from the week that was...
5) Kerr’s absence absorbable
It has been a meteoric rise for interim coach Luke Walton, who has spent all of 16 months in the NBA coaching fraternity. He’s handling his duties with composure and aplomb, which may be an extension of his natural comportment. But Walton also benefits from having one of the league’s smartest and most professional rosters. Curry and Thompson are sons of former NBA stars. Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green possess extremely high hoops IQs, with Andrew Bogut not far behind. Assistant coach Ron Adams has been coaching since the 1970s. And if that’s not enough, executive board member Jerry West also pitches in with instruction. Though we won’t get our first look at Walton’s courtside show until Monday night, there was not the slightest sign of disarray in camp.
4) Steve Nash a very welcome presence
Nash was recruited to the Warriors by a room full of friends already with the franchise. In addition to Kerr, there is COO Rick Welts, assistant coach Luke Walton, player development coach Bruce Fraser, scouting manager Nick U’Ren and who knows how many others whispering into Nash’s ear. Nash spent Thursday and Friday at camp, working primarily with guards and wings, most notably devoting post-scrimmage tutelage to shooting guard Klay Thompson. Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala, in particular, were highly complimentary of Nash’s work -- what he had to say, as well as his physical demonstrations -- during the week, and believe he’ll be of immense value to the offense.
3) Brandon Rush’s conditioning noticeably improved
Rush last season was a mess -- a good, confident shooter that never found his shot or his confidence. He was richly deserving of his spot on the far end of the bench. His single greatest sin, though, was poor conditioning. Some of it was related to back soreness at the outset of training camp. But even as his back improved, Rush never regained his sleek physique. It’s back. Rush looks springy and signs indicate he also has a healthier outlook. Many are competing to seize minutes behind Thompson, and it appears Rush is determined to hold off a crew of newcomers led by veteran Ben Gordon.
2) Festus Ezeli’s commitment beyond question
Ezeli for the first time was fully healthy over the summer and, therefore, able to prepare for camp. The 6-foot-11 Nigerian has a strong work ethic and it shows. With the exception of the day he departed early while fighting a migraine, Ezeli has been one of the first to arrive and last to leave. He works with Walton. He works with Adams. He works with player development coach Theo Robertson. Ezeli works, period. The labor is fostering progress. His movements are quick and, moreover, decisive. He looks surprisingly smooth, with much better touch around the basket. His biggest challenge, according to Adams, is visualizing the game in real time.
1) Camp MVP: Andrew Bogut
Between the significant weight loss and the relentless energy, nobody has been singled out more than the 7-foot Aussie center. Bogut is making plays in the paint and on the perimeter. He’s defending, as usual, but also scoring. He has, according to coaches and players, been a revelation. That’s high praise for a guy whose body appeared to break down at times last season. It’s also the sign of someone out to make the most of what’s left of his career.