April 13, 2024
The Warriors will hold media day Monday before beginning training camp Tuesday.

The Warriors are heading into preseason determined to right what went wrong in a failed title defense.

“We need to have a good training camp,” coach Steve Kerr said last week. “It’s imperative that we get off to a better start this year not just in terms of our record but in terms of our preparation.”

A long offseason after a disappointing loss in the Western Conference semifinals forced the Warriors to give themselves a hard look in the mirror. Months have passed; the roster has undergone some major changes as the Warriors depart from their two-timeline plan and are in a win-now mode.

Kerr did some self-reflecting during his summer away and acknowledged he needs to be better, too.

“It’s a lot easier for me to come in as a coach and be more demanding,” he said. “I think the players will expect that, too.”

Buckle up, it all starts this week.

Camp officially opens Tuesday, but the Warriors will hold media day on Monday. There will be plenty of storylines to follow, including a battle for the 14th roster spot and Jonathan Kuminga needing to take a big leap in Year 3.

Here are four other hot topics to monitor:

For starters…

Will Chris Paul start?

That’s been the question on many minds since the Warriors traded for him in July. After all, Paul has never come off the bench in his 18 seasons in the NBA.

When Paul met with reporters at summer league, he tabled discussions about his potential role until training camp. But with the preseason opener less than a week ago, it’s time to start having those talks.

A starting unit with Stephen Curry, Paul, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green would have some serious defensive deficiencies. That’s why it’s possible the Warriors could start Paul for certain matchups and have him come off the bench for others. Whether he’d be willing to accept that type of role, though, is another question.

Draymond’s health

News broke over the weekend that Green will be out for the start of training camp and could possibly miss the Warriors’ season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 24.

Green is nursing a sprained ankle that he injured last week during a pickup game at Chase Center. Swelling had already gone down as of Saturday, Green told ESPN’s Marc Spears.

A timetable for his return is expected to come Monday, though Bleacher Report and ESPN reported Green might miss at least a month of action.

Green signed a four-year, $100 million extension this summer, but he is entering one of the most important seasons of his career after his actions last October — i.e. punching Jordan Poole in camp — cast a dark cloud over Golden State’s failed title defense. His legacy, thanks to his four rings and eight All-Defensive team selections might already be cemented, but the way this season plays out for Green will set a tone for the rest of his playing career.

Two C’s

“Chemistry” and “connectivity” were the buzz words of Kerr and Mike Dunleavy Jr.’s press conferences last week. It’s expected that will continue to be the case Monday when players meet with reporters.

The Warriors started last season with what Kerr called “the biggest crisis” of his Warriors tenure and ended with a loss on the road in the second round of the playoffs, with the team’s stars maxed out. Bad habits formed over the course of a turbulent season haunted the Warriors for months, and there was a clear disconnect between young and old.

Golden State is now looking for a fresh start with an older crew.

Its star players have already gotten to work this offseason on building a more solid foundation, hosting workouts in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to foster camaraderie. It’ll be evident once the season starts whether the budding brotherhood is more than just talk.

Thompson’s offseason and motivation

This will make Thompson’s second full season back after back-to-back major leg injuries sidelined him for 2 1/2 years. He entered training camp last season slightly behind schedule since a mental block prevented him from playing pickup ball the summer of 2022.

Thompson’s slow start paired with the growing skepticism that he was “not the same guy” post-injuries prompted the 32-year-old to take a break from social media so he could get his game back on track. It worked. And despite a poor playoff series against the Lakers, Thompson had an overall good season.

Thompson will need to continue evolving his game — such as putting more of an emphasis on rebounding — in order to prolong his career. But last season should give him even more confidence heading into this one.

Oh, and there’s another thing Thompson might be playing for this time around.

Thompson is eligible for an extension as he enters the final season of his five-year, $189.9 million deal.

Could he and the Warriors find a way to make an extension happen before the season starts? Or will Thompson wait and potentially test the waters of free agency?

Time will tell.

>