Warriors

Warriors practice takeaways: What we learned on Day 2 of training camp

Warriors practice takeaways: What we learned on Day 2 of training camp

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors practiced in their new home for the second time Wednesday, but practice ended earlier than expected thanks to a pair of Golden State big men injuring themselves. 

With the Warriors still integrating a number of new players, here are the three biggest takeaways from Wednesday's practice session. 

Curry and Russell come to an understanding

Two days into training camp, Warriors guard Stephen Curry has already found the remedy to sharing responsibilities with newcomer D'Angelo Russell: Whoever gets the rebound keeps the ball. 

Russell -- who officially signed a four-year, $117 million deal in July -- was among the highest usage players in the league last season. The Nets used Russell on 31.1 percent of their offensive possesions, causing concern he could coexist with Curry, who was used on 29.2 percent of the Warriors'. However, Curry believes the two ultimately will complement each other. 

"That's going to be fun to watch," Curry said Wednesday. "Having a playmaker like that, that can put the ball on the floor, create for others. He's obviously a knockdown shooter. I think the chemistry will be developed very, very quickly in terms of how we work off each other and what we can accomplish as a backcourt."

The Warriors will be without Klay Thompson, who averaged 21.5 points last season, as he rehabs his torn ACL. That, coupled with eight additions to the roster, will force Curry and Russell to shoulder the offensive load at the onset of the season. 

Russell sounded confident Tuesday that the two players could coexist. Fewer than 24 hours later, Curry agreed. 

"In terms of just playing, I've always had a high responsibility of putting the ball in the basket and creating for others and that's pretty much the same," Curry said. "I'll have to feel out exactly how defenses want to play us and what they want to try and take away, but at the end of the day, I've always played aggressive [but] that's never meant taking every shot."    

Center injury woes

Golden State's already thin frontcourt took two more hits Wednesday. Kevon Looney tweaked his hamstring, while Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle, causing Steve Kerr to cut the training session short. 

The injuries come two days after the team announced their free-agent acquisition Willie Cauley Stein -- who was expected to compete for the starting spot -- strained his foot. Following Wednesday's practice, Kerr said Looney "didn't think it was bad." Additionally, Looney was seen riding a stationary bike during Kerr's media session. According to a source, Looney's injury was described as "minor," and he isn't expected to miss any time.  

"It's always a concern," Kerr said. " ... This is a brand new roster so different dynamics and this is kind of a fluke for three of our four centers to go down either before camp or on the second day. That's flukish." 

In the meantime, the team will turn to Omari Spellman and perhaps Draymond Green at center. After a breakout fourth season, Looney was expected to compete for the starting center role. 

Smailigic, meanwhile, is a long-term project worth an investment, evidenced by the fully guaranteed contract he signed this summer. The 18-year-old showed a bevy of potential, with numerous highlight-reel dunks during Summer League in Las Vegas. In four games in Vegas, he averaged 8.5 points, adding 5.0 rebounds in 22 minutes per contest.

[RELATED: Kerr on NBA's coaching trial in Year 6 with Warriors]

Assessing the small forwards

With Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala no longer on the team, Golden State is uncertain who will start at small forward. In the offseason, the Warriors added Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson to compete with Alfonzo McKinnie for the starting role. 

"We've got a couple of guys who have been pros now for a while, they have plenty of experience," Kerr said. 

Entering camp, McKinnie has the advantage, considering his experience in the Warriors' system. However, he might have the most to lose with a bad camp. Of the players competing for the role, McKinnie is the only player with a non-guaranteed deal.

Kerr also said that Jacob Evans -- who struggled to get on the floor as a rookie last season -- could also get time at small forward. 

Warriors' Damion Lee eager to get back in the lineup

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USA Today

Warriors' Damion Lee eager to get back in the lineup

SAN FRANCISCO - For weeks, Warriors Damion Lee has been sequestered to the team's training room, prompting a running joke among his injured teammates. 

"We're in detention while everybody's having recess," Lee explained on Tuesday afternoon.  

A two-way guard, Lee has frequently outplayed his two-way contract status, becoming a dependable role player. A fractured bone in his right hand impeded that progress, forcing him to miss a month of action. Now, after being upgraded to probable for Wednesday's matchup against the Knicks, he's eager to get back into the fold. 

"I'm good. I'm going out there and not thinking about it. It took its course and it's healed, and everything's fine," Lee said. "When the time comes, I will be out there on the court, and whenever my number's called, just go out there and get the butterflies out early, and just have fun."

Lee -- who suffered a nondisplaced fracture in his right hand last month-- joined the team on its most recent five-game road trip. After missing Monday's loss to Memphis, he participated fully in practice Tuesday morning, including a 3-on-3 scrimmage prior to Tuesday's session. While listed as probable for Wednesday's game against the Knicks, Lee expects to be brought back slowly. 

"I highly doubt I'm going to be out there playing 30, 35 minutes. Just going out there," he said. "Just coming off the bench, just trying to bring that spark, muck up the game, and just have fun with everything."

Following an injury-plagued college career at Drexel and Louisville, Lee went undrafted in 2016, bouncing around the league, including G-League stops with the Maine Red Claws and Golden State's affiliate in Santa Cruz, earning a two-way contract last season. During his tenure in Golden State, he's frequently outplayed his contract. This season -- in a two-way role -- he became a rotation player with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out for extended time. In an early-season win over the New Orleans Pelicans, he scored a career-high 23 points, adding 11 rebounds. 

His availability comes with a caveat. As a two-way player, he can only be with the Warriors 45 days before he's forced back down to the G-League for the season unless Golden State signs him to a fully guaranteed deal. As of Tuesday, Lee has 31 days left with the Warriors. 

Lee's addition to the roster comes as the roster is getting healthier. In the last week, expected contributors Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans and D'Angelo Russell have returned from various injuries. With a return on the horizon, Lee believes he'll reach his previous production levels with time. 

"I know tomorrow I'm not going to go out there and be perfect. I know I'm not going to make every shot, I'm not going to miss every shot," Lee said. "But it's just going out there and just doing things at game speed. Obviously, being in the game, but preparing at game speed, and just going out there, and once it all starts to click, then it'll obviously go up. Going out there tomorrow, the main thing is just playing hard and having fun."

Ron Adams pinpoints where Warriors need to improve most on defense

Ron Adams pinpoints where Warriors need to improve most on defense

Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams no longer sits on the bench during games, but he still has a very important job.

The 72-year-old is a defensive guru, so it must be painful for him to see Golden State ranked 25th in defensive rating.

"We gotta get much better defending the 3-point shot -- that's kind of been a sticking point," Adams told Warriors radio voice Tim Roye prior to the Dubs' loss to the Grizzlies on Monday night. "But we now have more players, which helps.

"But it's really tough when you're on the road with eight or nine guys."

Well, speaking of defending the arc and losing to Memphis -- the Grizzlies went 15-for-40 (37.5 percent) from deep Monday. They entered the game shooting 34.2 percent (24th in the NBA), averaging 10.8 makes per game (No. 22).

But it wasn't a surprise to see Memphis connect from 3-point territory because the Warriors entered the matchup with the worst 3-point defense in the NBA, allowing opponents to make just under 40 percent of their attempts.

That's really, really bad -- especially when you give up the second most makes per contest (13.8).

[RELATEDReport: 'No world' where Iguodala gets buyout from Grizz]

And it's not like the Dubs suffered bad luck against Memphis.

If they don't clean up this area of the game, the Warriors' rough season only will get uglier.

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