Youth shines in preseason win against Lakers – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO – Preseason basketball is largely about young players looking to establish themselves and those fighting for back-end roster spots. At first, all eyes were on the 38-year-old point guard, who will star in the Warriors’ 125-108 win against the Los Angeles Lakers in Saturday’s opener.

Warriors fans gave Chris Paul a warm welcome and quickly showed what they can expect from him this season. Paul played all 13 minutes in the first half and completed the box score. The pass-first point guard had six points, five assists and four rebounds for the first time in a Warriors jersey.

He was joined in the starting lineup by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney. Curry (eight points) and Thompson (10 points) combined for 18 points and played 13 minutes each. There has been an emphasis on Thompson making rebounding and crashing the glass a higher priority, and he finished with four rebounds, essentially his average last season.

LeBron James and Austin Reaves were both unavailable for the Lakers.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ preseason opener.

CP3 debut

It didn’t take long for Paul to prove what kind of immediate impact he would have on the Warriors’ offense. His first shot attempt? A signature mid-range jump shot that went for two points. His first help? That came from a Looney steal to push the pace and finding Curry for a fastbreak 3-pointer.

Paul’s five assists led to 13 Warriors points. Three of his five assists turned into 3-pointers, two by Curry and one by Wiggins, and three overall ended in buckets made by Curry.

As for what his role will be when the Warriors are fully healthy, it likely won’t be what it was in his first game for his new team. But with the extra work that Paul and Curry are putting in after practice on the court, it’s clear how much more reliable non-Curry minutes should be when Paul has the ball in his hands.

a better podz

Concerns and question marks surrounded the Warriors first-round draft pick after an uninspiring performance in Summer League. Surrounded by NBA talent, Podziemski eased the tension in his preseason debut.

Steve Kerr referred to Podziemski during his pregame press conference as someone who will “connect the lineup” once he finds his footing in the pros and praised his feel for the game. Kerr’s assessment was seen when Podziemski checked in for the first time with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. In the first quarter alone, Podziemski scored four points off two slick layups, as well as a steal, an assist, a rebound and a charge.

Although Podziemski won’t have to carry the same load he did as a sophomore at Santa Clara, given the opportunity he can contribute in many ways as he did in his final season in college. He played 26 minutes and scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, also adding five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. Podziemski also looked for loose balls and picked off Lakers first-round rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino in the full-court.

It was an impressive first performance for Podziemski and should help ease the tension after the ups and downs of the Summer League.

strong second unit

With Draymond Green nursing a left ankle sprain and Paul joining the starting lineup, Kerr began a set rotation after playing the first six-plus minutes of the first and second quarters. Joining Wiggins came Podziemski, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and Dario Saric. Gary Payton II replaced Wiggins early both times.

The group looked comfortable together after talking repeatedly through Saturday night. The additions of Green and even Cory Joseph would change things but the second unit had the kind of connectivity Kerr is yearning for.

The Warriors expect breakout third years from Kuminga and Moody alike. Kuminga scored a team-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting and Moody was second on the Warriors with 15 points. They came down with a combined 13 rebounds, eight by Kuminga and five by Moody.

From veterans to youngsters, there were plenty of positives to take away from the Warriors’ early preseason win.

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