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Klay taking it slow, Looney looks ready as Dubs camp wraps

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Stephen Curry and Draymond Green never showed up, as anticipated.

Klay Thompson never participated in 5-on-5 scrimmaging, as speculated, and neither did Eric Paschall, whose conditioning was not at the preferred level.

And Andrew Wiggins has come and gone.

The Warriors on Saturday ended high-intensity workouts for their voluntary minicamp without reporting an injury. There will be one more team session Sunday, and the final two days will be limited to one-on-one drills between players and coaches.

The minicamp began Sept. 21 with a 48-hour COVID-19 isolation period, before progressing to the court on Sept. 23. It was, however, more than a communal gathering.

“Our young players have made great improvement and are working hard this summer,” coach Steve Kerr said, “but we need to get everybody on the court together and have everybody healthy and, hopefully, add a couple of good players through the draft and free agency and see what we can build.

“It helps to get a really good look at everybody. Seeing them play, seeing them on the court, you start to get a sense of who might fit where and who could play what role and what your strengths and weaknesses are. We know Steph and Draymond so well that it's easy to envision the group with them. This week has given us a better idea of what we need to look for.”

Here are four takeaways from the past 11 days:

1) Klay still rehabbing

There were glimpses, through the auspices of the team’s audio-video department, of Klay Thompson participating in workouts, drilling 3-pointers and dunking and generally looking bouncy. That’s the only Klay revealed to the outside world. Only Klay that was heard, too.

 

Yet the reports delivered by Kerr were consistently encouraging, suggesting the five-time NBA All-Star is fully healed from the torn ACL sustained nearly 16 months ago.

He did not, however, participate in unrestricted 5-on-5 scrimmages, including the Team Blue vs. Team White game on Thursday.

“We’re taking it really slow with Klay,” Kerr said. “He’s basically taking part in all of practice other than the scrimmage. We did other drills that were live. We did some defensive drills, 5-on-5, more of a controlled scrimmage that he took part in. But at the end of practice scrimmage, we had him doing some 1-on-1 stuff with Leandro (Barbosa). That is the preferable sequence right now.”

Thompson has been rehabilitating for 14 months and putting up shots for at least 10. The Warriors seem comfortable with his progress, and maybe they would have played it differently if there were an established timeline ahead of next season. There isn’t, and there is no knowing when the NBA will announce one.

Still, it would have been good to hear from Thompson. That did not happen, as he declined all interview opportunities.

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2) Looney looks ready to roll

Kevon Looney’s 20th and final appearance in a 65-game season came on Feb. 29, He played 15 good minutes and then missed the last five games with “left hip soreness.” He missed 19 games earlier with left abdominal soreness and underwent surgery in May to repair a core muscle.

By late June and into July, the 6-foot-9 center-forward was doing individual workouts. Still, with his injury history, the Warriors entered camp holding their breath.

They’re now breathing freely. Looney, without limitations, passed all tests and by all accounts looks ready to provide 20 effective minutes per night – exactly what the Warriors are asking. He said he feels better than at any time since the start of the 2017-18 season.

“Our guys just scrimmaged for an hour, and Loon was getting up and down the floor and shooting the ball well and moving well and then afterward says he feels great,” said Kerr, who considered Looney’s activity a camp highlight. “He had a really consistent week and is doing excellent from a health standpoint.”

3) Paschall’s conditioning an issue

Listed at 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, with a barrel chest and broad shoulders, second-year forward Eric Paschall is a naturally burly man built for physical basketball.

The Warriors, however, were not delighted with the physique they saw when he arrived at camp after clearing COVID-19 isolation on Sept. 24. Conditioning issues prevented director of sports medicine Rick Celebrini from clearing Paschall to participate in all team activities.

 

“He took part in all of our drills,” Kerr said Saturday. “But just from a conditioning standpoint, Rick felt like it was best to hold him out.”

Though Kerr cited no specifics regarding Paschall’s condition, such as illness, there is a modicum of concern when a young player, coming off a promising rookie season, has trouble maintaining a proper fitness level. Pandemic limitations could be a factor.  

At no point did Kerr seem alarmed. He did, however, seem very aware.

4) Simmons shows well

The Warriors have made no secret that they will look long and hard at skilled wings, particularly those with the ability to defend. In a league in which 3-and-D wings are at a premium, they have Andrew Wiggins and Thompson. They need more, and they know it.

That’s where Jonathon Simmons comes in. The 6-foot-6 veteran – he turned 31 last month – was among five players invited from the G-League Santa Cruz roster. He showed well.

“We could use length on the wings, we know that,” Kerr said. “I think he showed that he’s still got the athleticism and length to be a factor defensively. He’s got the strength to switch onto bigger players and hold his own down on the block. And, offensively, he’s a good 3-point shooter. He’s got the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.

“So, I’m a fan, and obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done with our roster. We will see how it all shakes up.”

RELATED: Kerr says Simmons possibly a fit for Warriors

Simmons has played for three NBA teams, most notably with two seasons in the Spurs’ rotation. His most recent NBA experience, with the 76ers, ended in the 2019 playoffs.

It’s conceivable the Warriors could add a wing through the draft or free agency or with their $5.9 million taxpayer midlevel exception. Simmons is a longshot, but so was Juan Toscano-Anderson, another wing, who stuck last season and now hopes to earn a guaranteed contract.