Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter using the hashtag #askkerith
It’s the first #askKerith mailbag of the season! I appreciated your thoughtful questions and observations last season.
Tonight, the Warriors will play their last preseason game. Pessimistic folks will say hooray, a fourth opportunity to lose to the Lakers! But the preseason is about participating, not playing to win. It’s a time where teams focus on themselves to try new looks, build chemistry and figure out weak spots.
The Warriors are undersized. It’s a shame Kevon Looney (hamstring) and WIllie Cauley-Stein (foot) have been unable to play. Rebounds have been a trouble spot, which is part size, part effort. They’re fouling too much.
Growing pains will happen. Now is the time to experience it. There’s been some impressive play, too. Marquese Chriss anyone?
I’ll see you tonight at Chase Center, and let’s start the year with a jumbo-sized mailbag.
@stagedarren Any change in Draymond’s practice demeanor this season? With all the youth and inexperience has he taken on a more serious/ teacher’s mood?
Draymond is still Draymond, and he’s embracing a teaching role as he has in seasons past. He has acknowledged there’s a different feeling this season. The first week of the preseason featured two-and-a-half-hour practices because of all the stops and starts to help the new players.
I like listening to Draymond discuss his teaching style. A lot of people think of firey passion, but that doesn’t mean he’s yelling at people indiscriminately. There’s a patience to him that should be recognized. He’s serious about helping his teammates get better, and that means giving them the space to make mistakes. Draymond said there’s a longer leash this time of year to allow people to learn. The leash will tighten when appropriate.
One of the favorite things he said this preseason regarded tough love and how it’s not time for that. There’s not enough familiarity. I’m paraphrasing, but Draymond basically explained, “How are you going to give a guy tough love when you don’t know if you love him yet?”
@shanetrey5 What are some of the impacts during games and over the course of the season do you think we’ll be seeing as Kevon Looney continues to rise and step into a bigger role for the team? Also, what was the best thing you watched this summer? For me it was Unbelievable on netflix.
It was great to see Looney return to the Warriors, on a three-year deal. They need his big body and his workman’s attitude on both ends of the floor.
This season, Steve Kerr wants Looney to play more minutes and shoot more threes. No pun intended, that’s a tall task, but he’s up for it. If Loon is a scoring threat from the perimeter, defenders can’t sag off him. That spaces the floor.
I asked Looney about taking on more this season, and I already knew what his answer would be: “Anything to help my team.” He’s smart. He sees the way the center position is evolving in the NBA. Three-point shooting is part of the toolbox now.
Looney also is amenable to coming off the bench or starting. He's a reliable teammate and a low-key guy in the locker room. Perfect combo. It’s a bummer Looney didn’t see any action this preseason with a hamstring tweak. Steve Kerr said he hopes Looney is ready for opening night against the Clippers on Oct. 24.
As for what I watched this summer, I fell in love with Fleabag.
@kelcatinc Any update on Willie Cauley-Stein? Haven't really seen much of him, curious how he fits in with Dubs. Thanks.
For anyone who needs a refresher, Willie Cauley-Stein hurt his left foot while playing pickup. He entered training camp in a walking boot. I doubt there will be an update on his foot until the end of the month.
This injury will no doubt set WCS back. It takes players about two to three weeks to get their conditioning up during the preseason. WCS is missing all of that. Keep this in mind for Looney, too.
WCS also has to acclamate to a new offense. Yes, he can study the X’s and O’s, but learning by doing is best. I think he’ll be great for the Warriors, but give him some patience when he returns. An injury at the start of the season with a new team is tough.
@tc_oketch What is @zaza27’s new role? What are the chances that he’ll suit up if we need him to? #AskKerith
Zaza Pachulia is a consultant for team operations on both the business and basketball sides. After nearly 1,100 career games played for six teams, Zaza has some wisdom to share.
Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are not in the locker room this season, so the Warriors lost some leadership. Just having Zaza around as a voice is beneficial. He can speak up when he sees the need, or stay in the background until a young player or a coach comes to him for his perspective.
Teams find a way to take care of their own. This role for Zaza indicates how much the Warriors like him.
@renegadegabe How are the new faces liking the Warriors culture and atmosphere?
When I did a tour of the players’ areas at Chase Center with Eric Paschall, it was clear he was thrilled about getting his career started with the Warriors. At the practice facility, there are large pictures on the wall above the court, capturing the best of Warriors history. Al Attles is on the wall. Run TMC. Baron Davis’ dunk. Championship photos.
Paschall remembers watching Run TMC as a young player. He was at Villanova when the Warriors were winning three championships in four years, so the memories are fresh. Now he gets to begin his pro career with this team, in these brand-new facilities? There’s an awe factor.
The young guys know the Warriors built a dynasty. It’s special to be around that. They’re learning what it would take to sustain the dynasty. They’re excited they get to start the season in this environment.
Young guys also know the Warriors don’t see the G-League as a punishment or a dumping ground. Everyone in the NBA knows Quinn Cook’s story by now. The Warriors give young players space to grow. Whether it’s their time to be with the big club or go to Santa Cruz to develop, the young players see this organization is a healthy place. There’s freshness, thankfulness and readiness in the air.
@HeyImDion how are YOU getting used to the new facilities and different pathways to the court?
@regEreg Where do you now sit during the games? I remember you sitting in some small area under the seats at Oracle.
@AnneHarr13 Do you still have a cubbyhole near the court?
@lorieforshay I know it’s still the preseason but is the vibe different in the new arena?
@billylikesrice IS there anything notable or interesting about the move to Chase Center that directly affects/changes your job?
I sit at a table in the Warriors’ tunnel by their bench during games. I love it! It’s a nice change from my under-the-bleachers location at Oracle Arena, where peanut shells, soda and cell phones would fall into my workspace. The new location is not as cold either.
The Warriors and I made the best of the situation of Oracle because there wasn’t much space, but they were so kind with my new spot. I have easy access to the bench and my reporting spots on the court. I’m happy and grateful they kept me in mind.
I live in San Francisco, so my commute to games is trimmed by 40 minutes. I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. No more crossing the bridge or feeling frustrated in traffic.
Chase Center is beautiful. You can tell this building was specifically made for basketball. The sightlines are good. The light is perfected. The ceiling is low, and the arena feels intimate. I don’t have a read on the vibe yet because it’s only the preseason. When fan patterns become clearer and the usual faces are in their seats for every game, I think the vibe will reveal itself.
My one joke lately is, for a building that’s a circle, there sure are a lot of hallways. Getting around Chase Center still is coming together for me in terms of Point A to Point B. It’s fun to explore new things. Don’t worry -- the fan spaces at Chase are easy to navigate!
@andreasxgarcia What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you wore on a broadcast?
I have a necklace I wore to my wedding that I wear with V-neck dresses when I report, and putting it on takes me back to the beach where we got married.
I got a question from @adamski_38 about where to find the best cheeseburger in town when he visits from London in 2020. Of course I’m going to help a guy whose bio reads, “Ribs, cheeseburgers and basketball.”
I took the question to Twitter, and the responses poured in for recommendations all over the Bay Area. Click here to scroll through the replies:
Some of the top replies were TrueBurger, Red’s, the Telegraph Beer Garden, and of course, In-N-Out.
Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.